Friday, May 24News That Matters

Controversy As MP Odonga Otto Chases COVID-19 Patient Out of Gulu Hospital

By Keef Nuwahereza

There was a scuffle at Gulu Regional Referral hospital on Wednesday evening after Arru Municipality Member of Parliament Odonga Otto barred medics from admitting a man suspected to have Coronavirus to the hospital.

Our sources reveal that the suspected COVID-19 patient is a male Kenyan truck driver who was intercepted  from Kamdini by health officials and driven back to Gulu, with intent to isolate him.

However, by the time health officials landed at  Gulu Hospital with the Patient in their ambulance, Odonga Otto, who was leading a group of other people,  barred the medics  from entering the hospital with the patient.

They instead demanded that the medics drive the ambulance back to Kampala and take the patient to Mulago National Specialised Hospital or Entebbe Grade B Hospital, where treatment centres for COVID-19  were set up by the Ministry of Health.

After failing to reach an amicable agreement with Odonga Otto and medics at Gulu Hospital, the Anti COVID-19  team  lost the battle and decided to drive back to Kampala with the Patient, such that he could be admitted to Mulago Referral Hospital.

However, while commenting about the saga, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine advised all politicians in the country to desist from interfering with the work of medical officers involved in the fight against COVID-19 because this will frustrate government efforts to fight the disease.

Medics and a traffic cop wondering what to do next after Odonga Otto chased them

Dr Atwine said that “Politicians should keep out of this because it will frustrate all efforst to combat COVID-19. There is no way spreading  the virus can end when our neighbours in other countries still have it. So we are still hunting for other  suspected  infected people like we did for the truck driver in Gulu.”

The Truck that was being driven by the COVID-19 victim

She added that “We were supposed to either take the patient to Gulu or Lira, because all regional hospitals were prepared to handle COVID-19 cases. However the political leaders there said that they don’t want a person who is not one of their own to be admitted their hospital. These are some of the problems we are facing.”   

According to the MoH, 1032 cases tested on Wednesday were negative, while 181 people are still in quarantine waiting for their results.

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