The Ministry of Health has started installing intensive care units (ICUs) in each of the 14 regional facilities
countrywide to prepare for potentially extreme cases of COVID-19.
Each of the regional facilities will have a capacity of 10 ICUs to handle critical cases if they arise, the director general of
health services, Dr Henry Mwebesa, told New Vision yesterday.
Although Uganda has largely registered mild cases of COVID-19, leading to a very high recovery rate, Mwebesa said
the Government would not take chances.
"We know that globally, 20% of COVID-19 cases progress from mild to severe and critical cases. We are installing the ICUs in our regional facilities to cater for any eventualities," he said.
The installation of ICUs started yesterday in Mbale, Jinja and Lacor regional referral hospitals, Emmanuel
Ainebyoona, the health ministry's senior public relations officer, said.
Uganda, which confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in March, as of Sunday had registered a total of 1,025 with 972 recoveries (including both Ugandans and foreigners) and zero deaths.
The 12 new confirmed cases recorded on Sunday include seven truck drivers, five from Malaba, two from Mirama Hills
and Elegu and five alerts and contacts from Tororo, Lira and Kisoro.
Mwebesa said Uganda has been lucky not to have severe and critical cases of COVID-19, partly due to the country's
system of tracking suspected cases at an early infection stage.
An intensive care unit provides critical care and life support for acutely ill and injured patients, because of a sudden
and critical deterioration to their health.
Each of the 10 ICU beds will have a ventilator to aid breathing for patients and oxygen supply systems, among other specialised systems, Mwebesa said.
The new intensive care units will not only be used by the regional hospitals for management of COVID-19, cases but are also expected to aid in other emergencies, he added.
The installation is expected to be completed by the end of August, so that they are capable of handling extreme cases, should they arise.
President Yoweri Museveni, last month, said health facilities in Uganda had created capacity of 2,000 beds for COVID-19 patients, with potential to scale it up to 40,000 beds.
In the worst case scenario, he said, the Government can erect tents to treat patients, thanks to the country's pool of doctors and nurses.