ARUA. Locals in Arua have expressed reservations over new restrictions that were introduced by the ministry of health and now being enforced by Arua regional referral hospital management.

The restrictions among others, seek to limit access into the facility by patients using vehicles and the number of caretakers to one per patient.

“It is really unfair because patients inside there need our moral and social support because our presence can also be a comfort to them (patients),” Mr Daudi A’bo’di from Ulepi in Madi Okollo district who came to visit a patient said.

A’bo’di suggested that prohibiting visitors from staying longer in wards is better than completely blocking people from visiting their sick relatives and friends.

He added that enforcement for compulsory hand washing and sanitization would be a better option.

A’bo’di said strict implementation of precautionary measures on compulsory hand washing and use of sanitizers is a better option than stopping people from accessing their dear ones admitted in the hospital.

Ms Betty Aseru, a resident of Adumi sub-county who brought food for a patient at the hospital testified that she was blocked from physically delivering the food to her patient.

She later decided to call the caretaker attending to the patient on phone through whom the food was delivered.

The decision to restrict entry into Arua hospital premises follows guidelines issued by the ministry of health to all hospital management across Uganda in respect to Presidential directives aimed at fighting COVID-19

While briefing journalists on the directives on Wednesday, Dr Filbert Nyeko, the Arua hospital director said one attendant per patient is issued a card in order to differentiate them from intruders in the hospital premises.

According to Dr Nyeko, the restriction helps to avoid the hospital premises from being a fertile ground for spread of the disease in which rampant body contacts within the hospital premises is minimized.

All public and private transport means apart from ambulances and vehicles taking critical cases are barred into the hospital, all planned surgical operations suspended, any form of gathering at the hospital has been banned, staff cars without stickers are barred from entering into the hospital premises and out patient’s department (OPD) will only attend to emergencies and referral cases.

Nyeko said the hospital OPD will only attend to emergency cases (life threatening conditions) like high blood pressure, diabetes, and HIV among others.

Currently, Arua hospital discharges any patient showing faster health recoveries in order to control congestion in wards.