Health Ministry Starts Evacuating COVID-19 Patients to Namboole Stadium

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • September 2, 2020

The Ministry of Health today starts admitting positive COVID-19 patients at a new treatment facility at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole on the outskirts of the city. 

Col. Edith Nakalema, who heads the statehouse anti-corruption unit confirmed to journalists last evening that she had been asked by President Yoweri Museveni to coordinate the evacuation.

She said that the Uganda police has been directed to deploy lead cars to ensure that people are picked and that the teams don’t get stuck in traffic.

The facility which has been a quarantine centre was zeroed on after numbers of people testing positive daily spiraled, leaving the previously gazetted treatment centres at Mulago and Naguru hospitals filled beyond capacity. 

As a result of the crowds, a source at the ministry told URN that they haven’t been admitting patients, especially in Kampala for the last one week even though the city confirmed the highest number of cases. Most of the those who have tested positive, have since been in self quarantine at home.

When this was brought to the attention of the President, he directed that the patients who are still at home be immediately evacuated to the treatment facility. 

Figures show of the overall 3,564 Ugandans so far confirmed positive, 1,489 have recovered and are discharged. Over 2,000 are supposed to be undergoing treatment.

According to Dr Charles Olaro, the Director of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health, Namboole has been fitted with a bed capacity of 1,200 so far but will be expanded if the need arises.   

But, even as the ministry continues to attach all positive cases to treatment facilities, experts have come out to warn that this move of having everyone isolated in a treatment facility is not sustainable and creates unnecessary depletion of resources which would be helpful to those in most need. 

Last week, the Uganda Medical Association recommended that the government changes their protocol and start editing moderate and severe cases saying the asymptomatic ones can remain at home but get in touch with the health workers when they notice any progression. 

Olaro says this is not yet an option but could be considered later. The general fear by the healthcare managers including the president has been that the positives will not comply with guidelines of self- quarantine which creates a risk of further transmission of the viral respiratory disease. 

However, it’s unclear how many people are not yet isolated for treatment at the various facilities across the country.