KAMPALA: Six COVID-19 patients have escaped from the Mulago Specialised National Referral Hospital where they have been on treatment, the Deputy Executive Director, Dr. Rose Mary Banyima has revealed.
While she couldn’t reveal the identities of the COVID-19 patients, she said one was admitted with his mother and once she succumbed to the viral respiratory infection, the youthful male patient also disappeared. She says the search for the patients has not yielded any results yet they pose a risk to the communities where they have gone.
This comes a few days after the Uganda Prison Spokesperson, Frank Baine acknowledged that up to 59 COVID-19 patients have escaped from treatment facilities within prison since they started handling cases. The escapees were from Moroto and Jinja prisons.
At Mulago, Byanyima warns that with the hike in the number of cases with a daily average of up to 200 cases, they are overwhelmed, adding that people should take individual responsibility to keep away the disease. Of the 238 people who had succumbed to the disease by Monday, Byanyima says 215 died from Mulago Hospital alone.
It should be noted that the facility receives some of the most critical cases and those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which have lowered their immune systems and puts them at higher risk of dying. Currently, 10 to 15% of the patients received at Mulago hospital are in a critical state and therefore require treatment with oxygen and other support.
3 to 5% of the patients are being treated in the Intensive Care Unit. While the general feeling in the community is that COVID-19 is a disease of the elderly because of the fact that 80% of all those that test positive are asymptomatic, Byanyima says Mulago has treated about 20 children with critical disease.
As of now, the youngest in the ward is 10 years old who was referred to them from the Uganda Heart Institute where he was being treated for a heart defect. She says the surgeon who was going to conduct surgery on the child suggested a COVID-19 test which returned positive.
Then, the surgery was postponed until she is declared COVID-19 free. Overall, in terms of national statistics, Uganda has recorded a total of 30,384 positive cases cumulatively. Of these 10,549 have since recovered.