Frontline Dispatch: Regional COVID-19 Training in Uganda

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Image: Lira regional health worker training for COVID-19 facilitated by Seed Global Health on May 5, 2020.

On May 7, 2020 Seed Global Health and the Ministry of Health completed health worker training on COVID-19 in the Ankole and Lira regions of Uganda.  Following technical contributions to the national guidelines on the management of COVID-19, Seed has helped implement a regional training and dissemination program within the Ankole and Lira regions.  The training program is designed to first reach regional referral hospitals and then cascade to lower-level district and community facilities.

In Ankole, the training was delivered at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital and attracted more than 40 doctors, nurses, and clinical officers from 12 districts including Buhweju, Rubirizi, Kiruhura, Bushenyi, Sheema, Mitoma, Rwampara and Mbarara.

Reflecting on the program, Dr. Rose Muhindo, the lead physician of COVID-19 case management team at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, appreciated how the training had helped fill the information gap amongst participants and across facilities. “I would like to thank organizers that have made this training possible and we shall continue to apply the same knowledge and skills gained from this.”

Dr. Johnson Kabwishwa, a medical superintendent at Kitagata Hospital appreciated the focus on not just case management but strengthening the referral network for COVID-19 cases.  “We have learned how best to handle suspects and make effective referrals. We shall be able to work better with Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital… we are happy that we have been trained on Covid-19 and its management in our communities.”

While no cases of COVID-19 have yet been confirmed in the region, this training is timely. Jane Kyarisima, the nursing officer at Ruhoko Health Centre IV in Ibanda confirmed three COVID-19 suspects were recently identified and samples were taken to the Uganda Virus Institute.

She emphasized the training and mentorship she has received will enable her and colleagues to improve their clinical practices when they return to their district. “I have learned more about isolation and infection prevention and control; I appreciate that opportunity and we are going to practice what we have learned when we get back… in our district we never had isolation centers, we shall go and put them in place.”

In closing the training, Dr. Muhindo reflected on the challenges of responding but highlighted the importance of continued mentoring and partnership with district health facilities.  “I was up and down today with many things to sort out at the isolation unit.  We are not the experts, but we know with working together we can fight this pandemic.”

This post on COVID-19 regional training was authored by Joshua Namanya, a journalist from Mbarara who covered Seed Global Health training in Ankole. Photographs of regional training in Lira were taken by Myra Bali.


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