According to the health ministry’s plan, Namboole is expected to handle over 1,000 COVID-19 patients in case of an upsurge in infections.
By Cecilia Okoth
Security considerations are critical in the planning process of setting up treatment centres for COVID-19 patients. This was revealed during the tour of Namboole stadium in Wakiso district, by the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force yesterday.
According to the health ministry's plan, Namboole is expected to handle over 1,000 COVID-19 patients in case of an upsurge in infections. Brendan Stack, the programme manager Catholic Relief Services (CRS), said the number of cases to be accommodated at Namboole required a proper security plan to ensure that patients follow the guidelines.
CRS is a non-governmental organisation supporting the setup of facilities to handle COVID-19 patients at the stadium.
The same message was echoed by Brig. Gen. James Kiyengo, who led the inter-agency team.
"There was need to visit the facility during its planning phase to incorporate security considerations to ensure the smooth running of the facility," Kiyengo said.
Security at Namboole has since been beefed up, with Local Defence Unit personnel manning all the gates.
With the support of CRS, Kiruddu Hospital is turning part of the stadium into a medical facility, where patients with mainly mild or asymptomatic cases will be admitted. CRS is currently fixing the floor, walls and sanitation requirements of one of the facilities to handle up to 160 patients (80 males and 80 females).
Other necessities, such as beds and mattresses, have already been provided.
Although the health ministry had planned for health facilities with 9000-bed capacity, President Yoweri Museveni advised that they plan for 40,000-bed capacity.
Consequently, the Government resorted to spaces such as stadia, outside the traditional hospitals, to host patients. The health ministry also plans to equip each regional referral hospital with a 200-bed capacity tent to cater for the increasing COVID-19 cases.
The targeted 15 hospitals include Arua, Fort Portal, Gulu, Hoima, Jinja, Kabale, Lira and Masaka. Others are Mbale, Mbarara, Mulago, Moroto, Mubende, Naguru and Soroti hospitals.