EBOLA GETS COMPLICATED AS MEDICS GO ON SILENT STRIKE OVER MUSEVENI’S UNFULFILLED COVID-ERA PROMISES
By Mulengera Reporters
Sources close to Uganda’s Ebola response efforts have revealed shocking secrets dwelling on the extent to which President Museveni’s unfulfilled promises, relating to medics who died while fighting COVID19, are complicating the fight against the latest outbreak.
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Credible government insiders have revealed that, because the compensation of Shs10m the President promised for each family that lost a loved one (a health worker) during the Coronavirus pandemic was never paid up to this day, many Greater Mubende-based medics are demoralized and have resorted to feigning sickness to avoid being deployed on the Ebola frontline. Yet their services are badly required to facilitate collection of samples from patients who manifest symptoms.
That roughly 100 health workers died as they treated COVID patients prompting the President to promise Shs10m compensation package per family. “It’s now more than a year later since that compensation promise was made. The Finance Ministry, which was supposed to facilitate and enable the same, ended up saying there is no money and the families have never got the package the President promised,” says a knowledgeable insider. “The same has widely demoralized health workers in the Mubende area who are now saying they aren’t prepared to die for nothing.”
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Concerned sources have revealed that because of this disappointment and frustration plus generally low morale levels, suspected Ebola cases aren’t adequately or promptly being responded to. This has complicated the collection of samples which Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) requires to establish the extent of spread of the disease. Many are refusing to participate in collection of samples from the growing number of patients turning up with Ebola-like symptoms and complications.
Yet during this outbreak, things should be a lot easier because unlike in the early 2000s when samples had to be flown to labs in the US to establish Ebola presence, these days capacity has been built and the same can now be done at UVRI labs in Entebbe. But the whole thing is being frustrated by the widespread unwillingness by Mubende-based health workers to expose themselves to risk of getting themselves infected.
Matters have further been complicated by the fact that some health workers have already tested positive for Ebola, a thing that has sparked widespread fears and desire for self-preservation.
This is how one Mubende-based medic explained: “And by the way Ebola is more fatal and dangerous than COVID19. The fatality rate is much higher implying that once you test positive, you don’t stand high chances to recover. We lost many colleagues due to COVID. The President publicly appreciated their sacrifice and the lists were compiled and everything was verified and handed over but problems began when the Finance Ministry started saying there is no money and that’s where everything ended. They left families and nobody is remembering them yet they sacrificed for the bigger public good. This is why we are all saying let them get health workers from Kampala because we aren’t prepared to sacrifice ourselves again.”
The source explained that the moment the latest Ebola outbreak was confirmed, many Mubende-based medics went for leave and generally had to find some curious reason to be away from duty to avoid participating in sample collection yet that is the only way new cases can be established and designated for appropriate management to break the rapid spread of the disease as additional mitigation measures are being worked out.
“Unless the low morale challenges are quickly addressed, it’s apparent that the situation is going to worsen first before it gets better because Ebola is very contagious and needs appropriate management. The crisis is that as of now, you can’t even tell the magnitude of the problem because appropriate sampling isn’t being carried out,” says one of the medics involved in the anti-Ebola efforts in Mubende. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).