At the frontline: Samuel Oketcho

At the frontline: Samuel Oketcho

Name of health worker: Samuel Oketcho

Occupation: Enrolled Nurse

Hospital: Mbula Health center II, Tororo District, Eastern Uganda

Since its outbreak in December 2019 in China, the disease has spread to almost every country in the world. Uganda, my home country got the first case on 21st March from a 36year old Ugandan who had a trip on 17th to Dubai to buy phone screen guards for his business. On return, he presented with a fever of 37.5°c. This forced the health minister and the team to carry out a test on him which returned positive. So far Uganda has a total of 89 cases all are in a stable state with no death as of MOH Uganda report. (9th April 2020)

But as a health worker in rural eastern Uganda since 2012, the health care system has been in a bad state; working in people’s homes as a government facility, long distance to the work station, insecurity to those with staff quarters, lack of medical equipment, understaffing.


In my facility, we face many challenges such as no protective gear, temperature monitoring machine, no training on COVID-19 preparedness by the district health office since the pandemic, not even any communication from them. What most health workers rely on is getting information from the ministry of health social media page.

 The community is not taking COVID-19 seriously as some don't believe it's real, those who believe are being misled by others like the case where social media spread information that a kid was born in Iganga, Eastern Uganda who spoke immediately after birth and said "people should take boiled rainwater mixed with salt and tea leaves" as this would cause no Corona infection. In fact, many people did this. But as a health care worker most of the time we do health awareness campaigns at the facility and community at large to sensitize them on such myths and guide them to follow government directives as the only way to stay free from Covid-19.


 Call to action: Increase sensitization on COVID-19 preventive measures, detection, contact tracing, isolation, treatment, and follow-ups.