Health Ministry reduces admission period of COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 patient receives treatment

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Health has reduced the number of days COVID-19 positive patients will be admitted at treatment facilities.

The days have been reduced from 18 to 12 according to the Health Ministry. When patients test negative for the disease after 10 days, they will be discharged.

Patients will be tested twice for the disease before they are discharged. The first test will take place before admission and another test on the 10th or 11th day of admission. Once the second test comes back negative, patients will then be discharged.

Dr Charles Olaro, the director of clinical services at the Ministry of Health and also the head of COVID-19 treatment centers says they have decided to make the change following WHO recommendations.

Olaro adds that the move will reduce the high number of patients admitted in treatment facilities especially hospitals.

As of yesterday, 1,468 confirmed cases were receiving treatment and isolated at hospitals but less than 20 per cent of them have moderate or severe forms of COVID-19.

Dr William Worodria, the ministerial COVID-19 case manager says that the reduction in the number of days will reduce congestion at health facilities.

“Evidence has shown that someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and receives treatment will test negative for the virus after 10 days. So if you test negative, there’s no reason why you need to remain admitted,” Dr Worodria said.

The change in the number of treatment days comes as health workers are urging the government to include home care in their treatment plan. If home care is introduced, the time mild COVID-19 patients spend in hospitals may be reduced to as low as four before they are sent home to manage the illness. Hospitals would only admit moderate and severe patients for longer periods.

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The Executive Director of Mulago National Referral hospital Dr Baterana Byarugaba wants the days reduced to as low as eight so that patients can recover from home.

“The hospital is overcrowded. If the patients who are feeling better can be managed at home, then we would have more space and time to concentrate on the very sick ones. The money we also spend on looking after the patients would also reduce,” Dr Baterana said.

While home care would reduce COVID-19 admissions, Dr Olaro says that they are skeptical on whether it can be implemented in the country.

Dr Olaro says that controlling patients would be almost next to impossible which might to further spread of the disease.