Name of health worker: Tageya Sophia Bruhan
Masaka Regional Referral Hospital
A health worker’s experience of transporting COVID-19 suspects on a boat with limited Personal protective equipment (PPE)
The experience I have had managing COVID-19 patients has been mind-blowing. I have participated in the burial of patients who had died of the virus. Doing all this hasn’t been an easy task considering that there has been denial by the community of the existence of COVID-19 and confirmed cases in the country, considering it a political game. Even the patients think that it is a political game and often look at health workers as actors in this game.
There have been many times a patient looked at me with anger and asked why we are wasting their time at treatment centres. At burials, a lot of insults have been thrown at the team.
All this has negatively affected the provision of holistic care as patients refuse to cooperate in practising the recommended care standards. There is continuous community sensitization to provide knowledge about COVID-19, and why at times there is the absence of severe signs and symptoms. However, there is need to put a lot of emphasis on mass sensitization of the masses since the denial of the existence of COVID-19 in Uganda still largely exists, as witnessed by strong comments made to health workers by these patients.
There was a time when we had to transport suspected COVID-19 patients on a boat from Nangoma to Kansensero landing site. I was working in these areas and as far as observing SOPs was concerned, accommodating COVID-19 suspects was almost impossible.
To ensure that we are protected as health workers, I am advocating for the provision of enough PPEs because it has been a challenge dealing with limited full PPEs. This will make us more confident to go about our work of managing COVID-19 patients.