There is a low uptake of COVID-19 services in Karamoja due to stigma and poor mindset among community members. Dr. Ben Watmon, the Director Moroto Regional Referral Hospital, says there is a lot of stigma related to COVID-19 and lack of knowledge on the virus.
He was addressing a team of Greater North COVID-19 Parliament Task force led by Koboko Municipality MP, Charles Ayume.
The MPs are assessing Government’s intervention on COVID-19 and how is working in different parts of the country.
According to Dr. Watmon, many COVID-19 patients prefer to receive treatment in their homes irrespective of their condition while others prefer to spend days working as opposed to being isolated for weeks as they receive treatment.
“The situation worsened when police picked up confirmed cases for resisting treatment but the situation has now changed with most patients accepting to be treated in their homes.,” he said
Dr. Watmon says that unfortunately there is no money to finance the community health department, which would have helped in the work of sensitization. Cumulatively, on the 697 cases registered at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital 223 received treatment under home-based care management, and the remaining 379 in the COVID-19 treatment Unit.
Currently, there are 43 people under home-based care and 8 in the facility.The hospital registered 12 deaths since the pandemic broke out including a records officer at the facility. Currently among those being treated at the facility is a doctor. The hospital says that although only 609 showed for vaccination in the first phase, this time the demand has gone up.
Several members of the Parliamentary taskforce think more needs to be put in to mobilise people into accessing the service. Napak Woman MP, Faith Nakut says that it is possible that the COVID-19 cases are not as presented due to limited testing.
The team leader, Koboko Municipality MP, Charles Ayume, says that fortunately, the facility has adequate Personal Protective Equipment, enough testing kit, and medical supplies contrary to the tale in other health facilities. He also lauded the commitment of health workers in the hospital, who he described as having the right attitude to work with patients.
Rosemary Logono, one of the residents found at the hospital, says that many people fear that the COVID-19 tests will make them sick. “Many people did the test and they turned out sick, others were instead readmitted yet they were okay before testing,” she said.