Mulago Hospital

Why bring Ebola to Kampala?

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I know it was done in good faith. And i know it was to try to save “one of us”, but I am very disturbed by the decision to bring an Ebola Patient to the National Referral Hospital.

First of all, Ebola is striking Uganda for the 4th time – Gulu, 2000; Bundibugyo 7 years later, Luweero only last year and now Kibaale! Surely its disturbing that the 4th time, we have not picked lessons from across the country and shared them across the healthcare systems and channels.

The President said, ” About three weeks ago in the village of Nyanswiga in Kibaale district, some people become very sick. Initially the health workers did not realize what it was.  This was apparently because the people who were sick had many other problems….malaria etc. And apparently the bleeding which normally accompanies Ebola did not take place initially among these patients. That is why Ebola is part of what they call hemorrhagic fevers – this is because of the bleeding which takes place.”  See Full Statement Here.

3 whole weeks – and yet it takes 4 hours to go from Kibaale to Entebbe (if you have test samples for a disease that you don’t seem to recognize) . Far less, if you fly there with an M15 jet…

Secondly, There were many other cases being treated at Kagadi Hospital, of regular people. How is it that a “well-trained” and “well-equipped” health worker did not have the mind to perform her duties with protective gear? Sadly, the driver who might have been tasked to deliver her to Mulago did. Why then was that “vote of no confidence” cast on staff and services at Kagadi Hospital? Or, i dare say, was it a case of “one of us” has to go to a better facility? Some of the people who stayed at Kagadi are now recovering, which means there is ample treatment and every reason to stay put. Why did someone bring Ebola to Kampala?

Thirdly, since Ebola had been confirmed, i wonder, do all hospitals have some kind of routine? Say like immediately setting up isolation facilities and quarantine zones? Identifying personnel to man these? Prepare and avail safety kits for these personnel… When they brought the patient to Mulago, what this kind of routine stuff done already? If so, why the stampede that is requiring 7 doctors among other people to go on quarantine – for “coming into contact with the patient”? What about the families of these 7 doctors, or any other patients they might have seen that day, and their families too… Did someone not do their job? Who might this be?

Kampala has the complexities of density – and for a disease that thrives on contact, this is the ideal breeding ground! Money Exchange, Fake Spontaneous hugs, Boda Bodas, Pioneer Buses, lazy walkers on the street, the 2 old taxi parks, Kimombasa in Kawempe, Chicken in Wandegeya – migration style Walk-To-Work and Walk-From-Work.

Who really drives a patient into this madness….? And why?


Facts on Ebola: