At the center of a very challenging COVID-19 Treatment Unit experience, making me aspire to be a better father, husband and employee

At the center of a very challenging COVID-19 Treatment Unit experience, making me aspire to be a better father, husband and employee

Name of health worker: Akanga Michael

Occupation: Enrolled Nurse

Hoima Regional Referral Hospital

At the center of a very challenging COVID-19 Treatment Unit experience, making me aspire to be a better father, husband and employee

In April 2020, Hoima had just opened its COVID-19 Treatment Unit (CTU). I was contacted to join the CTU team as a nurse and eagerly pledged to be part of it. On my first day at the CTU, a 65-year-old businessman Mr. Muhanguzi (not real names) who was suspected to have COVID-19 was brought to the ward accompanied by a relative. This patient was started on oxygen because his condition kept on deteriorating.

And, we had to rely on the “relative” of this patient for updates on his wellbeing for fear of being exposed to the virus. This became challenging when the relative was unavailable to give us information that could be of help in reviewing the patient care plan. And to make it worse, when the patient found out that his assets and money were being grabbed, he could not heed to our medical advice.

Unfortunately, this patient died as we waited on his COVID19 results. After his death, out of nowhere, the relative came out and started accusing us of neglect and causing the death of their relative. This was disheartening. I felt that it was too much for me to work in the CTU. I felt quite uneasy and anxious about the risk to my health and family. And, made me reflect on the way I conduct my nursing procedures. It made me realize the value of others.

Recognizing that suspects were admitted in the CTU, and later on their results would come back negative. As health care workers in the CTU, we advocated for COVID19 suspects to be separated from the confirmed cases. We also improvised our smartphones for Televisions since there was no entertainment sources for both patients and staff.

We have recurring and persistent challenges such as uncooperative foreign patients, lack of motivation in terms of delayed risk allowance, feeding for both patients and staff. There was lack of some of the equipment needed for proper patient care. In addition, the shortage of staff made holistic care quite difficult to deliver. Even the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were uncomfortable and we could not readily walk in to see to the COVID19 patients. Though we have encouraged other colleagues to join us in working at the CTU, putting first the care of patients despite the challenges.

On a positive note, working in the CTU has changed me a lot as a person; my value for quality life has improved. I aspire to be a better father, husband and employee.