Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, Health Minister-Designate has revealed that though Uganda has the capacity to handle any disease outbreak just as they have done in the past, the current crisis of COVID-19 has to be addressed by a social behavioural change where every individual has to be responsible.
Aceng said that the public has been equipped with all the necessary information to stop the spread of the deadly virus but majority have intentionally decided to flout the set guidelines hence the cause of the current wave.
On possibility of another total lockdown, Aceng said that though its critically very necessary, the first lockdown taught them how complicated it can turn out to be.
“We learnt a lot of lessons from it. With our economy and other challenges like managing the other conditions like cancer and pregnant mothers we learnt that a lockdown is complicated.
In the first COVID-19 wave we lost 334 people. But, we lost more people to other disease conditions compared to COVID-19 because of the lockdown. HIV patients could not access their medicine and it was a challenge managing malaria,” said Aceng.
She expressed worry at the number of COVID-19 cases among the vaccinated population and urged those vaccinated to continue observing the standard operating procedures to contain the spread of the virus.
The Minister warned the private sector that are charging abnormal amounts for oxygen needed by COVID-19 patients saying in such times, the focus should not be about making money rather saving lives.
“With COVID-19, we opened up to the private sector. They are charging up to Shs5 million a day. Some families have paid up to Shs200 million and they have still lost their loved ones. It is completely unacceptable,” she said.
Aceng said the country is facing a very big oxygen deficit which can only be solved by using oxygen in cylinders. Uganda needs 8,000 cylinders of Oxygen daily to supplement what is provided at regional referral hospitals.