Daily Monitor understands that many residents still harbour beliefs that Covid-19 is just common flu
A section of health workers in Yumbe District are in a spot of bother after some residents denounced the existence of Covid-19 pandemic and resisted treatment.
The health workers say during outreach programmes, the residents, who test positive for the deadly virus, are resisting efforts to deliver them to health centres for medical attention.
Daily Monitor understands that many residents still harbour beliefs that Covid-19 is just common flu.
As a result, some of the people are now shunning government health facilities for fear of subjecting them to Covid-19 tests and are resorting to self-medication in drug shops and herbalists.
Ms Vivian Lenia, the infection prevention control (IPC) focal person at Barakala Health Centre III, said many residents who test positive for the virus refuse treatment.
“If a patient tests positive, he or she sometimes run away from the facility. And so we fear to follow-up such a person in the community because they may attack us as they don’t believe that Covid-19 exists,” she said on Monday.
She said such beliefs would lead to more infections and deaths.
Dr Charles Onek, the medical officer at International Rescue Committee (IRC), said they have registered many cases of people escaping from Covid-19 treatment facilities in Bidibidi refugee settlement.
“When we get a positive case and you give them the option of being taken to an isolation centre or treatment unit because they can’t observe the home based care practices at home, you will find someone refusing to go,” Dr Onek said.
He added: “We recently got a case in Bidibidi refugee settlement, the patient refused to be taken to the treatment unit until we had to involve the police.”
He said the community leaders are not much involved in the fight against the pandemic because they don’t report those who refuse to be treated from isolation centres.
Mr Rasul Drajiga, the assistant chief administrative officer, acknowledged the problem.
“It has become common that relatives of the patient sometimes refuse the referral and threaten our health workers. Others when referred to Arua Regional Referral Hospital, they refuse the patient to be taken beyond Arua, which makes it difficult for our health workers to handle such a patient,” he said.
“We are dealing with very difficult community who are ignorant because they think that health workers give wrong information. Our people this time have started shunning government health facilities for fear of screening them for Covid-19 and they claim, any person taken to the government health facility will be declared Covid-19 positive,” Mr Drajiga stressed.
The district health educator, Mr Manisour Abasi, said: “The Health Act is very clear, if someone blocks our way or do something deliberately, such a person faces penalty. We can evoke such acts and also continue with sensitisation because communication alone can’t solve the problem but we should have multiple approaches to address the matter.”
According to statistics from the district health office, the average Covid-19 positivity rate in Yumbe is 8.9 per cent, which indicates a drop from 14.1 per cent in the previous week. However, the health authorities say this is still high as compared to the national average figure of 6.2 per cent.
The current cumulative Covid-19 positive cases stand at 726 with 66 active cases being managed at Lokopio treatment unit. And 154 active cases are on home based care while the number of deaths stands at 19 since the first start of the pandemic.
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