One year ago, in March 2020, Uganda reported its first cases of COVID-19, causing panic among members of the public, government and other stakeholders.
But the Ministry of Health responded fast using the health infrastructure invested by government over the years.
A year after, with a population of 44 million people, Uganda was among the fewer countries in the world to record low COVID-19 cases and deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Considering the dire situation in many countries and the fact that the virus has killed over 2.6 million people worldwide, Uganda has been very successful at fighting COVID-19, said World Health Organisation (WHO).
The outbreak of the new variant has since caused panic with spiking cases and deaths, the Ministry of Health has managed to respond to the crisis using limited available resources to save lives.
However, the Ministry and its top officials remain victims of a well planned smear campaign, despite their efforts rendered to save millions.
The updated figures indicate that Uganda has recorded 79434 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic broke out in Uganda, 52382 have recovered fully, 989 have died and 854443 have since been vaccinated.
To the authorities, Uganda is not worse although there is a lot that can be done to save more lives.
With limited resources, Uganda achieved that feat by swiftly deploying health systems and community responses created to fight the virus.
The Ministry of Health has installed ICU beds in Mulago national referral hospital and all regional referrals of Lira, Jinja, St. Mary’s Lacor, Mbale, Entebbe, Kawempe, Mbarara, Soroti, Naguru, Kabale, Hoima, Arua, Bombo, Fort portal, Moroto, Mubende, and Gulu to support critical COVID cases.
However, the Ministry reminded the general public that the available beds can never be enough if people don’t control infection rate by observing SOPs because critical care is stretched in all public health facilities.
All Regional Referral Hospitals have installed oxygen plants (15Nm3/hr) producing about 30 to 48 cylinders of 6800 litres of oxygen per day.
Government is procuring 8 more oxygen plants (200Nm3/hr) to boost the existing capacity for Regional Referral Hospitals. Each cylinder will produce over 500 cylinders per day. Similarly, 2 more (250Nm3/hr) plants are being procured for Mulago and Namboole and additional 10,000 oxygen cylinders for mobile distribution.
Uganda received the first batch of 964,000 AstraZeneca vaccine in March, 2021 and over 800,000 people have since been vaccinated. An additional 175,200 doses arrived in country in June 2021. The vaccines from this batch have been delivered to all districts. This will be used to ensure that all health workers and those eligible for their second dose receive the vaccine.
The current doses of vaccines are not adequate to cover all those that got the first dose but we expect more doses in July.
The Ministry acquired 98 type B and type C road ambulances and 3 boat ambulances distributed under a regionally coordinated ambulance service system to all the 14 regions in the country targeting 1 ambulance per health sub district. The Ministry is expecting 11 more boat ambulances to be delivered next month.
As more ambulances are procured all health sub districts in the country will be covered.
The Ministry procured and distributed a total of 36,702,048 masks to all Ugandans. Of these, 34,109,085 masks were delivered to 135 Districts for distribution to their communities and 2,592,963 for distribution to schools’ finalists.
Testing capacity has significantly increased from 74,000 in previous months to 151,000 PCR tests per month and we project to go upto 320,000 PCR tests by end of June.
Established genexpert testing at all Referral Hospitals to support critical testing. These were enhanced with 16 module genexpert machines and cartridges.
Distributed Antigen RDTS to all the 135 districts, Regional hospitals, National referral hospitals, District hospitals, Health center IVS and HC IIIs, Uganda Prisons isolation centres and Non traditional Facilities like Namboole.
Further, the Ministry is working with districts to set up outreach testing camps in all districts to increase access and reduce the volume of samples referred to the Central Labs.
Patient Beds, Tents
The Ministry imported 1840 beds and 4600 are being manufactured locally. Also 20 sleeper tents were procured to expand bed capacity for Regional Referral Hospitals for isolation of COVID-19 patients. Of these, 2 tents were delivered at Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Arua, Hoima, Kabale, Mubende and Fort Portal, and 1 to Entebbe Regional Referral Hospitals and 3 allocated to the UPDF medical services.
The Ministry is also opening the newly constructed Entebbe Isolation Center that has been built for management of such pandemics.
As of 27th June 2021, the cumulative number of positive cases confirmed was at 79,434 cases and cumulative number of recoveries recorded was at 52,382.