Masaka Regional Referral Hospital is planning to bring back all its mental health patients to their psychiatric unit following a drastic decline in Coronavirus Disease (COVI-19).
It is two years since more than 200 patients were transferred to Kyabakuza Health Centre III because their ward was gazetted for treating COVID19 patients.
According to Dr. Nathan Onyach, they had planned to return the mental patients to their unit by December 2020 hoping the number of COVID-19 cases would have reduced but the situation worsened with the overwhelming increase in admissions through 2021.
However, the COVID cases have reduced with so far only two cases treated in over two weeks and without receiving any new cases in this period. This will be done for easy access to mental health services at the regional referral hospital and to relieve overcrowding at Kijabwemi HCIII.
Onyach explains that if the situation remains the same up to the end of the month, them they will be able to bring back the mental health patients to reoccupy their ward.
Lucia Nakaggwa, a caretaker of a patient with schizophrenia, says they face a hard time traveling to Kyabakuza HCIII for mental health care services.
Schizophrenia is a long-term mental condition involving a breakdown of emotion and behaviour which may lead to faulty perception and inappropriate actions. She noted that returning to the regional referral hospital will enable them to access specialists at all-time adding that it will reduce transportation costs.
According to Dr. Edwin Okello, the medical officer in charge of the COVID-19 Treatment Unit at Masaka RRH, although the Omicron variant spreads faster, it did not affect people in comparison to the Delta variant.
He explains that the situation is gradually normalizing with few admissions at the treatment centre. Okello adds that they registered a cumulative number of 168 deaths from Masaka region from the first, second and third waves. He noted that 492 patients have been treated and discharged in the three COVID-19 wave in the region.
He noted that the cases have gone down even when the lockdown was lifted, attributing the decline in cases mainly to adherence to Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs).
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