Having COVID-19 during pregnancy was scary – Recovered mother recalls ordeal


Kampala, Uganda | URN | Joan Nambooze was 9-months pregnant when she was diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19). She is believed to have contracted the virus from her husband Francis Mugenyi who returned to Uganda from the United Arab Emirates on March 22 through Entebbe International Airport.

Nambooze was discharged from Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital together with Mugenyi after recovering from the viral disease. She told this publication shortly after being discharged from hospital that Mugenyi developed high temperature a day after returning home.

“His whole body was very hot,” she said. Mugenyi alerted the Health Ministry and a team was dispatched to collect his nose and throat swab samples. He was taken to Entebbe Hospital after testing positive for the virus while Nambooze and her two-year-old son were tested as contacts.

Nambooze tested positive two days later and was taken to the hospital. Although she had developed high fever and cough by the time she was taken to hospital, her son was negative and never got coronavirus.

Nambooze says she was very scared for her unborn child. However, after getting reassurance from the medical team, she was ready to give birth through a cesarean section on April 4, 2020. The operation was conducted by a seven-member team of experienced health workers.

Dr Andrew Menya Muwanguzi, who was part of the team that conducted the operation says they prepared for two days for the C-section.

Shortly after the successful operation, the team drew samples from the newborn to test for COVID-19 and from the placenta and Nambooze’s umbilical cord to test for possible mother to child transmission before, during and after delivery. All three tests were negative according to Dr Muwanguzi.

Nambooze says that she was happy that the baby tested negative. She was however advised by the health workers to always wash hands, wear a face mask and gloves when breastfeeding or cuddling the baby because she was still COVID-19 positive.

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“The health workers took great care of me and the baby. I was given medicine, porridge and other meals on time. I am grateful,” she said. Dr Muwanguzi says they also adjusted Nambooze’s medication so that she could breastfeed the baby as well as continue fighting the virus.

Nambooze, who works in a salon is however worried that the family doesn’t have any income and could starve since they have nothing to eat because of the lockdown. The couple has appealed to government and well-wishers for support.