More than 1,200 Ugandan health workers infected with COVID-19

Health workers wearing protective suits as a precaution lower the body of a covid-19 victim for burial at a graveyard in Gulu, northern Uganda. The East African country now has more than 6,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 60 deaths. /Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: Health workers wearing protective suits as a precaution lower the body of a covid-19 victim for burial at a graveyard in Gulu, northern Uganda. (Photo by Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Uganda’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday confirmed that more than 1,200 health workers had tested positive for COVID-19 since the first case was reported in the country in March.

“To date, we have registered 1,238 confirmed cases amongst health workers. Out of these, 10 deaths have been reported in different categories of medical workers,” Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, Minister of State for Primary Health Care, said.

According to investigations, the cases are believed to have emerged from the communities within which the health workers live in, for both private and public health sector workers.

Kaducu reiterated that the ministry continues to prioritize the safety of health workers and it had laid out certain interventions to address the situation.

The measures include intensified risk communication on infection, prevention and control measures within hospital settings and ensuring availability of adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) attributed infection of health workers to a number of factors including inadequate access to PPE, exposure to patients who do not show signs of the disease and repurposing of health workers for COVID-19 response without adequate briefing.

The W.H.O. urged African governments to ensure health workers are given the necessary equipment, skills and information to protect themselves as it noted that “one infection among health workers is one too many.”