Uganda: COVID-19 - Anger As Government Dismisses Masaka Video

A section of the public took to social media yesterday, criticising the Ministry of Health officials for looking on when hospitals abuse the rights of Covid-19 patients.

Trouble started after ministry officials dismissed details in a video recorded by a asymptomatic nurse, who on behalf of other patients, denounced the horrid state of an isolation ward at Masaka hospital.

The public accuses the ministry of refuting the claims instead of attending to the situation.

A one Blessings Geokel tweeted: "Stop playing the defence game, please take off your knees from our necks, Mama, we can't breathe!"

On Sunday, Ms Mary Aliona, a Covid-19 asymptomatic patient, admitted to Masaka hospital, asked government for help following the facility's sorry state.

Ms Aliona claimed the hospital does not have running water, garbage bins and lacks antiseptics to clean toilets, among other concerns.

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"The reason I am recording this video is to explain the conditions we are under at this hospital, they are really horrible. We rarely see doctors, [They]get here once to just drop medication that has no name. A doctor did not even explain [to me] what kind of medication this is, and as a former nurse, I do not want to take medication that I don't know," Ms Aliona said.

"This is a section that had been abandoned many years ago, and I think when Covid-19 came into existence, they just created an emergency ward. If we are really Covid-19 patients as they said, why can't they give us at least jik to clean our toilets, and brooms so that we can be assured for our safety?" she added.

However, the Health ministry says the ward captured in the video has functional electrical and water system and all patients on isolation are given sufficient meals and water.

"The patients will be transferred to a well-furnished main ward as soon as the renovation works are completed... , Contrary to the allegations in the video, the medical workers check on patients regularly. From time to time, the medical staff guide patients on their prescribed medication," a press statement reads in part.

"The structure captured in the patients video was used as an emergency measure as the hospital expands its bed capacity to more than 50 to accommodate more patients," the statement adds.

Dr Diana Atwine, the Health Permanent Secretary, yesterday tweeted: "I think we need to appreciate that Covid-19 came in emergency mode. We did not have any dedicated wards for Covid patients so [we] improvised with available infrastructure for overwhelming numbers like for Masaka."

The ministry said Ms Aliona tested positive for Covid-19 at Mutukula border point.

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