Lira—30, May 2020: When COVID-19 disease was first confirmed in Uganda, Health Minister Dr Ruth Jane Aceng got herself right at the epicentre of the command centre in the fight against pandemic.
This literally means that she was preoccupied with national duty as the figures kept ‘soaring up’ and that did not see her make it to Lira or the Regional Referral Hospital where she once worked as a medical superintendent, for several months.
But on Saturday 30, May 2020, it was her second come back home to Lira in less than two weeks. The other weekend, she came to address the district task force and this time she handed over an ambulance to Lira Regional Referral Hospital to aid in their fight against COVID-19 and other diseases, and handling referral cases such as antenatal.
The ambulance handed over by Dr Jane Aceng is a donation read as a contribution from Japan to help the Ugandan government in fighting COVID -19 pandemic.
TND News understands that a second ambulance from the Ministry of Health is yet to be handed over to the district in the subsequent week.
It should be recalled that Lira Regional Referral Hospital has been running with only a single ambulance which does not have any partitions and it practically made it hard for Lira to pick up COVID-19 patients from Kamdini Town Council weeks ago for referral.
“We currently have only one ambulance at Lira Regional Referral Hospital which was given during the CHOGM (year) and we can’t risk it to transport COVID-19 patients yet we shall require it for other medical services,” Dr Stephen Obbo, the administrative director of Lira Regional Referral Hospital said last week.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng used Saturday’s occasion to; talk, counsel and respond to the issues raised by health workers at Lira hospital but most importantly she confirmed that a nurse who was attending to COVID-19 patients has got the virus.
“I was here only last week, and I was telling the director that let Lira not become the first hospital to register the first death of COVID-19 but we have had the cost; a health worker infected from Lira and we are concerned……we need to be safe, we need to protect ourselves but we are here to reassure you that we are in this together, every life matters, the life of our health workers must be protected,” Dr Jane Aceng said in her opening remarks to medics.
Her kind statement soon attracted a round of applause from the health workers at the front line.
She unequivocally asserted to the medics to ensure they protect themselves as they treat COVID-19 patients, saying some of them might look normal but they are asymptomatic.
Dr Aceng also gave trays of eggs and encouraged the medics to serve humanity without caring about financial benefits.
“You have not paid me allowances ever since COVID-19 was reported in Uganda but I am working because it is my responsibility and your responsibility and I get a salary …….so it should not be about shillings 80,000,” the Minister encouraged the doctors and nurses attending COVID-19 patients.
Dr Jane Aceng was flanked by, among other experts, the Director General of Health Services, Dr Henry G Mwebesa