The Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) has had 298 of its patients test positive for COVID-19. These were identified through an initiative that requires everyone seeking cancer treatment to first undertake a COVID-19 PCR test.
Dr Nixon Niyonzima, who heads Laboratory Services at the Institute noted this morning that they have tested about 3,000 samples where those that tested positive were immediately referred to the Mulago Hospital COVID-19 treatment centre, he says, 20 were children.
“Over 3000 patients have been tested and 298 tested positive and as facility we are struggling to provide Personal Protective Equipment ( PPEs) because they are expensive,” he said
Godfrey Osinde who heads the pharmacy division says their budget on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has gone up to ten times. They are now spending about 3 billion Shillings on gear alone, yet their total annual allocation has not increased in the face of the pandemic.
Osinde was speaking at a handover event where the Institute received a donation of PPE worth 100 million Shillings from the Fred Hutch Cancer Research centre in addition to oxygen concentrators, thermometers, pulse oximeters and 3,000 SARS COV 2 PCR testing reagents.
Last year, during the initial lockdown, the Cancer Institute had to transport patients back to their homes in order to decongest the facility that is often filled with patients from upcountry awaiting their next appointments, especially for radiology treatment. This didn’t happen this time, Orem says