Name of health worker: Musoke Stanely
Hoima Regional Referral Hospital
A nurse’s narrative of translating skills learned during Ebola to the COVID19 pandemic
When the first COVID19 case came in, the COVID19 Treatment unit (CTU) was still being prepared and the patient was evacuated to Mulago but the second case was managed from the CTU. As a member of the nursing team, I believed that I could use my experience managing Ebola to manage COVID19 patients. Despite this confidence, together with other members of the COVID19 management team, we started to face stigma from the health workers themselves and the general population with the fear of spreading to them the new virus.
After the first 3 days of managing our first case, anxiety kicked in about any sign of the disease that I could develop. I went for a Malaria test which involved doing a blood slide for malaria parasites which came out negative. A few days later, I was swabbed for COVID19 and decided to leave everything to God as I waited for my results on the dashboard. When my results came back, I was at the quarantine centre where I had escorted a suspect. I sweated profusely when my colleague joked that, “the results are back and you are positive.” Fortunately, it was not true.
Experiencing stock out of PPEs because of inadequate supply exposed health workers to the risk of contracting the disease and reduced affected the quality of care to the patients. Therefore there is a need to advocate for more supplies from concerned officers. I recommend having weekly meetings and creating WhatsApp groups where issues concerning COVID19 are raised and psychological services are given.
Many staff have knowledge gaps regarding the standard operating procedures. Therefore, workshops should be organized for people working in the CTUs. Most importantly, there should be proper management of the available resources.