By Gloria Nakiyimba
The German government through Malteser International a worldwide relief agency has donated two ventilator machines worth more than 300 million shillings to boost Uganda’s fight against COVID-19.
One ventilator has been handed over by the German Ambassador to Uganda Mathius Schauer to Dr. Andrew Ssekitooleko the Executive director for Lubaga hospital.
A second ventilator has been given to Mulago hospital which was represented by Dr. Annet Alenyo at a function that was held at Lubaga hospital on Monday.
Dr. Ssekitooleko says the ventilator will improve the hospital’s capacity in treating COVID-19 patients in severe condition.
“The challenge for us arose when some patients presented with severe symptoms. Some of them needed ventilators or some sort of high level support. And yet we could not admit them to our ICU, because when we do that we’d close our ICU. So we reached out to our partners Malteser who came back to us with the positive news of a donation of a ventilator” said Dr.Ssekitooleko.
German Ambassador H.E Shauer says the ventilators will strengthen the hospital’s role as one the cornerstones in Uganda’s COVID response team.
“Malteser has trained staff on how to effectively contain the virus, and has helped implement the screening and sorting system which is essential to prevent hospital infection among risk groups and staff” said ambassador Shauer.
According to Dr. Ssekitooleko, the other challenge was in-transfer of patients, where the patients needed to be transferred to Mulago and other government designated isolation centres but lacked ventilators for the ambulance.
Malteser International in the past donated Personal Protection Equipment-PPE to Lubaga hospital and helped to set up a COVID-19 unit in the hospital which Dr. Ssekitooleko says has gone a long way in containing the disease.
The ventilator will also be used to support the training of emergency care and staff too.
“Our hospital is a training center for EMS so this ventilator is given to support our training program” he said.
Seven months ago Uganda registered the first COVID-19 first case, and today the number of confirmed cases in the country has since passed the mark of 10,000.