Africa-Press – Uganda. ‘I went to Mulago Hospital the other day to test for Covid-19. I had been feeling sickly. To be specific, I had cough, chest pain, body aches and lost my sense of smell and taste.
I thought I would find many people and have to stand for hours under the scorching sun before my turn came but it wasn’t the case. I found just a bunch of few people and within an hour I was in the doctor’s room ready to know my status. The doctor who was carrying out the tests had quite a weird welcome and generally strange attitude.
For starters, the girl who was ahead of me in the queue was slapped for attempting to touch her as her nasal swabs were being taken. If you have tested for Covid-19 before, you know how that bud-like strip they put in the nose is irritating.
The girl tried to touch the doctor and in the process was slapped. I guess they (doctors) are also protecting themselves from the virus but I want to think there was a better way of letting her know that touching her was not right.
Fast forward; when I was done with the test I was told to wait for 30 minutes to receive my results. During the wait I saw many things…
I saw streams of ambulances bring in virus patients. It was scary to watch. All the patients were in critical condition and on oxygen.
A light skinned, chubby woman who seemed to be in her early 50s was carried in on a bed. There were about 10 men on either side of her bed and at the front. Those at the front were carrying the oxygen tank. Some on the side were moving the bed and the rest using cut-out cardboard paper to fan her. “Please help me, I’m dying,” she cried.
I saw a man who looked really sick. He was thin. You could see his ribs poking through the skin and shirt if you cared to look closely. His lips were dry and peeled. He had a cannula on his hand.
He had been told to contact an ambulance to rush him to Namboole Stadium isolation facility but he couldn’t find any. He talked to a doctor who asked him to give the ambulance driver Shs30,000 for a quick job but he did not have the money. He was then told to grab a seat before he was put on oxygen right there.
I saw a group of soldiers bring in a man; perhaps a relative to someone in the army. He could hardly breathe. I could only tell he was breathing when I saw his chest and stomach expand and contract. He must have been fighting for his life all the way to the hospital. He was also put on oxygen.
I saw a group of people fighting for an oxygen tank. I could not really tell what was happening and why the chaos was going on, but I heard one of the doctors say that the oxygen tanks were not enough for every patient.
I heard an EMS doctor/driver while I passed one of the ambulance vehicles say some disturbing things. He said there were three people who had died but their bodies were still in one of the wards because they couldn’t be identified.
I also heard him say the wards were full to capacity with Covid-19 patients and I believed what I heard. You know why? No you don’t, you were not there. I was. It was because all patients in critical condition brought in had been attended to from the hospital veranda. There was no space for them inside the hospital wards. One of the doctors said that all patients from Entebbe were being referred to Mulago national referral hospital yet facility is also full to capacity.
That was not all. I saw a woman cry after losing a loved one to Covid-19. She wept so loud and you could see her bloody-red eyes almost popping out their sockets. She must have been crying for long. Losing a loved one is never easy.
I saw people who had tested positive for Covid-19 but couldn’t access a doctor for medication or prescriptions. Some had waited for long hours and given up. All the doctors were busy working on critical patients.
That was quite a lot to witness in just 30 minutes. I was later called in and handed my results which unfortunately indicated I had been infected with the virus.
As I write this I’m at home in isolation, swallowing tablets and a mixture of concoctions, lemon, ginger and garlic. The concoction is not easy to take and the tablets are very many but what choice do I have!
Please don’t be a Covidiot! Wear your mask at all times to protect yourself, loved ones and people around you against this deadly virus.
Additionally, follow all the other Covid-19 SOPs. It will help a lot.
You definitely don’t want you to be in my shoes right now or in the shoes of the patients I saw fighting for their lives at Mulago National Referral Hospital.
I repeat, don’t be a covidiot.Written by Racheal Asiimwe