The Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has refuted claims that dogs exhumed the body of a COVID-19 victim in Namisindwa district.
The claim, which was raised as a matter of national importance by Namisindwa district woman MP Grace Namukhula Watuwa at the floor Parliament this week, made the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga order the reburying of the deceased.
“The body was buried poorly and dogs have opened up the grave, so the odor is everywhere,” Watuwa said.
Updating the nation about COVID-19 on Thursday, the Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng refuted the claim.
“The deceased in Namisindwa was well buried except that the terrain there is a bit difficult and when there were heavy rains, there was a bit of exposure but it is not true that dogs had descended on that body. It is not true,” Aceng said.
The 34 year old female who died on Tuesday July 21,2020, was confirmed to have died of COVID-19 by Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General Health Services in the Ministry of Health on Thursday July 23, 2020.
Similarly, the Ministry of Health also answered why Uganda’s second COVID-19 death was buried by the family and not health experts as was supposed to be.
Lt Col Dr Henry Kyobe, the COVID-19 incident commander said that before the family was notified that the deceased died of COVID-19, she was already buried.
“The hospital identified that this a suspected case, took off a sample but before the notification came, they allowed the family to take over the burial. So, it was observance and the timing. So, the notification came later when the family had undertaken the burial,” said Kyobe.
The 80 year old female resident of Mengo, Kisenyi III became the second person in Uganda to die of COVID-19 and was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on July 26, 2020.
Accrediting private hospitals to manage Covid-19.
On the issue of whether Government has any plans of accrediting private hospitals to manage COVID-19, Aceng said, “I have been seeing a statement from Rubaga hospital saying they have an isolation facility and are now ready to treat COVID-19. I want to appreciate Rubaga hospital for taking the step but again I want to remind Rubaga that procedures must be followed,” she said.
For laboratories that have been accredited to test COVID-19, Aceng said there is an accreditation committee.
“As long as they are not accredited and we have not standardized their labs, we cannot encourage people to go there. They must write to us requesting to be accredited as a centre and a lab is assessed and accredited by the committee and then we can tell the population. But it’s it stands now, we don’t know that lab,” Aceng added.
She also noted that the Health Ministry cannot recognise the hospital’s isolation facility before it is assessed by the Ministry.
“So, I want to tell Rubaga hospital to follow procedures. If we start creating isolation facilities and testing labs all over the country, without control, we run a very big risk of not controlling our activities, the cases will blow out of proportion and we will have no control over them.
I welcome Rubaga hospital to write formally to the Ministry of Health and we shall send assessment teams there to help them. As is now, they need to follow the procedure and refer the patients to the rightful places,” Aceng reiterated.
On the issues of mass testing, Uganda, she said, has in country capacity to test for COVID-19 which began at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and later scaled up to National Public Health Laboratory at Butabika, Tororo General Hospital, Mutukula point of entry, Adjumani Hospital and Makerere University College of Health Sciences at Mulago.
Other Laboratories, Aceng said, have been assessed and accredited and 12 are ready for operationalization.
Of these, 3 are public, 3 are private and 6 are research laboratories.
The private laboratories will charge a fee for services.
The access to test kits across the world is still a challenge and according to Aceng, the capacity of these laboratories could be limited in terms of numbers of tests.