BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2021
The Ministry of Health has established a regional emergency operations centre (REOC) for the West Nile sub-region that is hosted at Arua regional referral hospital.
On September 1, 2021, the minister of health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, will launch the centre that will be used for epidemic monitoring.
Dr. Gilbert Aniku, one of the medics manning the centre, has confirmed that the entire team of monitors has been trained and are ready to begin operations at the centre that is fully equipped with information and communication technology equipment.
“The centre gets information about emergencies, synthesize it and forward for decision making by the relevant authorities. For instance Arua is flagged red as a hot spot for Covid-19, Yumbe is also a hot spot,” Dr. Aniku said.
It is the third REOC after Mbale and Fort Portal that the ministry has established in addition to the central emergency operation centre in Kampala.
Dr. Aniku said apart from monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic, the REOC will keep an eye on other epidemics such as polio and the plague outbreak in the Ituri Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Arua Resident city commissioner, Martin Oroch, commended the health ministry for establishing a decentralized unit to monitor epidemics and urged the hospital staff to ensure timely communication of their findings to the leaders so that they keep tabs with the evolving situation.
“From the partial lock-down, there is a general feeling that the second wave of Covid-19 has gone down yet we still have high positivity rate,” he said.
“In fact I am disturbed by the reports that Arua regional referral hospital is preparing to refer five patients to Gulu regional referral hospital yet both hospitals are at the same level,” Oroch added.
Dr. Aniku clarified that the reason for transferring the patients to Gulu is because of a breakdown in one of the concentrators of the oxygen plant in Arua which has reduced its capacity to manufacture the precious gas.
He said the ministry of health has already sent a team of technicians to assess the damage in order to repair it.
The ministry has also asked for space at the hospital to install a second oxygen plant so as to supplement the existing plant.
“This oxygen plant was designed to rest two hours per day but for the last three months, the plant has only been resting for 30 minutes due to the very high demand for oxygen. So, it got worn out,” Dr. Aniku explained.
Currently there are 48 people admitted at the intensive care unit of the hospital with Covid-19 of whom 14 require oxygen.