INDEPENDENT 12 APR 2020
” I am the bread earner. I am everything in my family. I am dead.” Those were the first words Patient Zero said after Ministry of Health officials told him that tests had confirmed he was positive for COVID-19.
The Director of Entebbe Hospital Dr. Moses Muwanga on Saturday narrated the encounter between health officials and Patient Zero March 21, when he was confirmed to have the dreaded Coronavirus.
He said the first patient was traumatized just like staff and this prompted management to provide psycho-social counselling for both patients and staff.
“The psycho-social counsellor we picked to reveal the news to the index case, sweated and nearly failed to put on the protective gear we gave her. We had to first counsel her and she then spent 20 minutes with the patient,” he revealed.
Soon after, several hospital staff took off when Uganda’s first Coronavirus disease-COVID-19 patient was admitted March 22nd and only a few dedicated health workers remained, and are currently working on isolated and confirmed cases.
Patient Zero is a 36-year- old Ugandan male who arrived from United Arab Emirates on March 21 and was later found to be positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Muwanga said treating patient zero and others have been a traumatic experience but also an opportunity for health workers to learn.
“The Index Case knew being tested positive was the end of the world, but we assured him there is hope, he could be cured. He must be extremely happy now,” Dr Muwanga said.
Entebbe hospital has been treating 30 of the 53 confirmed cases in Uganda. Dr. Moses Muwanga noted that the patients have been taken care of by a team of senior health workers.
The Index Case and three other patients who have since recovered from the Coronavirus disease-COVID-19 were discharged on Saturday afternoon from Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital.
They was discharged after testing negative for COVID-19 twice in the last two days.
Prime Minister Dr Rugunda, who presided over the send-off of the recovered patients, hailed the medical workers. ” It is great they have been able to carefully look after themselves, and are all negative. By looking after yourself first, you are able to look after your patients.”
He added that the hospital is proving that it will “become a centre of excellence in COVID-19 management”