Name of health worker: Nabisubi Janet
Occupation: Nursing Officer
Hoima Regional Referral Hospital
Limited Personal Protective Equipment at the COVID19 Treatment unit reducing mental health team visits
I was filled with fear and anxiety due to what had been all over media from the developed countries where many lives were being lost on the daily basis. On my first day to participate in the managing of COVID-19 patients, we did not have enough medical equipment and supplies like personal protective equipment (PPE) in the COVID19 Treatment Unit (CTU).
This shortage in PPE led us into reducing the nursing team’s patient visits to twice for those who did not present with complications of COVID19 or that were not in acute respiratory distress which was done. The reduction in visits limited the number of times that we should have accessed and cared for COVID19 patients. We therefore resorted to contacting the patients between visits through phone calls to be able to address any of their concerns and involved the psychosocial team to handle the situation where patients who denied the existence of COVID19 stigmatized others.
In addition, there continued to be a shortage of staff making us work for longer hours in the CTU and leaving us overwhelmed. This greatly affected the care we should have given the clients but despite these challenges, we continued to observe Infection Prevention and Control to ensure the mental health care team were not contracting and transmitting the disease. And, all patients that we handled during the period I was there recovered.
I, therefore, humbly appeal to the Ministry of Health to take health workers issues seriously and consider their needs by addressing the staffing gaps; employing more health care workers because for us who worked in the CTU, we were quite demotivated because there were no meals and risk allowances were not fully paid.