It was only a matter of time: as we have been worrying for months, Covid-19 has recently reached Dr. Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital, which recorded the first positive cases. This pandemic that is afflicting the world does not stop and does not spare anyone. Even in Uganda the situation is worsening: the data confirmed yesterday by the Ugandan Ministry of Health speak of 8,129 positive cases reported out of 480,037 swabs performed, while at the beginning of July the total cases were 935.
In Kalongo all the nine people infected have been immediately hospitalized in the isolation unit and two of them have been referred to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, the regional hospital of Gulu, as per government protocol. Now we await the outcome of the tests done on their families and on the 171 members of the hospital staff, to try and understand the entity of the emergency in progress.
Dr. Smart, CEO of Kalongo hospital and member of the district task force put in place to prevent the pandemic, confided to us with concern the fear that the cases registered in the hospital represent only the tip of the iceberg and that those affected by the virus could be in reality many more. It is in fact very likely that numbers do not describe the actual circulation of the virus in the country.
In fact, what he fears the most is that people hospitalized for other diseases may escape from the hospital for fear of contracting the virus. In Kalongo malaria, anaemia, HIV and all other diseases have not left the hospital to make way for Covid-19: on the contrary, such diseases facilitate its entry or increase the difficulty of diagnosis. Just think of the epidemic peaks of malaria that always affect the country with the rainy season: with the impossibility of promptly testing all those who have a fever – the first symptom of malaria – making accurate diagnoses becomes difficult, if not impossible.
The concern is great, we have all seen what the virus can do, and in a context of great fragility such as Kalongo, where health challenges are on the agenda and there are multiple needs, one cannot help but wonder what impact the Covid will have on the hospital and on the local population, already so vulnerable.
If the hospital is currently equipped to manage this first phase of the emergency we owe it to those who continue to support the Foundation even in these difficult months: we have managed to deliver health and safety devices to the hospital for the fight against Covid.
It becomes essential to raise the level of safety and support the hospital in its daily needs, such as the salaries of the health personnel, whose regular and continuous presence is extremely important for the care of adults and children, especially now that they cannot count on the support of Italian volunteer doctors or of the students of the midwifery school. As well as contributing to the purchase of drugs and tools necessary to make accurate diagnosis, prevention and to provide essential therapies to save the greatest number of people.
Let us not leave them alone. Thanks for what you can do!