Most Ugandans are worried that they will suffer the scourge of common medical problems other than coronavirus. The pandemic has shifted the attention of the health care system from other diseases that have already been overwhelming our healthcare system for a long time. Looking at the problem from a global perspective, Uganda has limited capacity in terms of hospitals, ICUs, hospital beds, health care workers, and medical supplies, especially PPEs.
The presidential directives being put in place are already paralyzing health care delivery. An overwhelming number of health workers do not have private means of transport to their places of work, so shutting down transport keeps them home. The current directive does not exempt them from using boda bodas.
On the same point, patients too are not exempted from using boda bodas. A couple of days ago, my husband and I were intercepted by security operatives and arrested for disobeying the presidential directive. We were from a medical center where we had taken our two months old baby for treatment. We were using our private motorcycle. I was forced to walk the remaining few hundreds of meters to our home, but my husband was detained at police for five hours before being released on bond. Law enforcement officers maintain that they are under the law. They cannot use their wisdom and judgment to justify an arrest. However, in disguise, this is being used as a great opportunity for them to make money from convicts. You have to pay money in most cases in order to be released.
A family is considered as a unit, whether traveling in the same vehicle, or at home. If one gets the virus, the rest of the family is at risk. So our duty is to protect ourselves as a unit. But when your baby is sick, how can you not seek medical attention? Law enforcement officers have no protective gear. They bring groups of convicts handcuffed in pairs and dump them in a tiny closed room. There were 16 prisoners in a space of about 1.5*3 meters. That breaks the social distance directive. Police officers do not have personal means of transport so they still use boda bodas. So the directives do not have provisions to keep life moving on while at the same time protecting people.
As I sum up, I would like to still stress that the situation needs a better leadership approach. Adjustments have to be done, otherwise many will die. A number of pregnant women are stranded, and there’s no doubt that some may have died so far. There is one who gave birth on the roadside while she was walking to the hospital. There is also a video circulating on social media right now showing a woman having complications after giving birth. Apparently, there is no health worker in the entire facility and she is being helped by caretakers. People who believe in God are living in hope that only God will deliver us from this. People have to pray harder than before because the wisdom of man is so limited.
Next, we will talk about how people are believing and responding to the call from the ministry of health on mainly social distancing, hand washing and sanitizers, and greeting.