YUMBE.The parliamentary taskforce of Covid-19 has disagreed with the leaders of Yumbe district over the decision to transfer the established treatment unit at a health centre III to a technical institute.

The district taskforce had established the treatment unit at Apo health centre III to manage mild cases at the facility but those with critical conditions are referred either to Arua regional referral hospital or Mulago national referral hospital.

While briefing the parliamentary taskforce committee of Covid-19 on Sunday, Dr Alfred Yayi, the district health officer said the CTU is not recognized by the ministry of health but it's a local initiative of the taskforce and the partners where they support in staffing, paying allowances and provision of food.

He said they have planned to shift the current case treatment unit (CTU) located at Apo health centre III to Lokopio technical institute due to congestion and temporary structures.

"The structures at Apo CTU are semi-permanent and others are temporary but because of the rains and congestion, we are unable to continue in such kind of structures because when it rains, it makes the patients uncomfortable. We have decided to shift to a structure with permanent buildings", Dr Yayi said.

"When we shift to Lokopio technical institute, we shall continue to work with our partners and also transfer those in the home based care to the CTU to avoid the escalation of the pandemic. The facility has enough space that can accommodate 90 beds with WASH facilities", Dr Yayi added.

Dr Yayi however said the challenge there is the issue of power because the facility has no solar system and it's also not connected to hydro-electricity power but there is a generator which can supply all the facilities which needs some amount of fuel to run it.

Mr Abdulmutwalib Asiku, the district chairperson said transferring the treatment unit to the hospital will delay due to managerial issues.

"We Initially, had the plan of transferring the CTU to Yumbe regional referral hospital isolation unit but we have gotten challenges that the contractor is still on ground finalizing some issues and also we needed clearance from ministry of health which has compelled us from transferring the treatment centre to the regional referral hospital", he said.

The members of the parliament however recommended that, the treatment unit be shifted to Yumbe regional referral hospital other than the technical institute.
Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the member of parliament for Bardege-Layibi division in Gulu city said the Covid-19 patients are put in tents which are not in a good condition and yet there are beautiful facilities at Yumbe regional referral hospital.

"Why should we continue admitting patients in poor structures and what is so difficult to have them brought here at the regional referral hospital? We appreciate the government for the huge investment but there is need for the government and the ministry of health to act very fast in ensuring the functionality of the facility", Ojara said.

"This hospital is standing in a beautiful condition but it's not been utilized which is not fair. If the district leaders can focus the desperation here, they will achieve faster than the technical institute because government has already put a huge investment at the hospital which we can't keep it to waste so the district leaders should put their effort and target on the hospital as the committee also does its part", he added.

He said it will be tedious if the district taskforce shifts the treatment unit to the technical school and later to the regional referral hospital but their first priority should be to support and operationalize the hospital isolation unit.

Dr Charles Ayume, the team leader for the parliamentary taskforce for the northern region expressed gratitude to the leaders of Yumbe district for starting the case management unit for Covid-19 in the district.

He however condemned the structures for admitting and treating the patients.

"We have seen on our tour inside the facility of the regional referral hospital that the structure is ready and designated isolation with beds and everything that is needed. It's upon the government to expeditiously clear and accredit Yumbe regional referral hospital for the management of cases of Covid-19 in the area", Dr Ayume said.

According to Ms Caroline Angolere the Yumbe resident district commissioner, they intended to shift the treatment unit from Apo health centre III to Lokopio technical institute this week but it's not yet clear whether the district leaders will heed to the advice of the parliamentary taskforce committee of prioritising the hospital.

The RDC said they are in discussion to see how they are going to treat about 102 Covid-19 patients in both the CTU and home based care but there is a big challenge of food.

"Feeding has become a problem for the Covid-19 patients and worst still, the number of positive cases is increasing in the district. Instead of supporting the covid-19 patients, monies are given to the VHTs and the LCs which doesn't make sense and yet we could use that money to actually address the problems in the treatment unit", Ms Angolere said.

Yumbe district was recently allocated about Shs 613million to facilitate the Covid-19 activities in the district but ministry of local government has advised that Shs150million be used to support the district and sub county level Covid-19 activities while the bulk of the money which is about 76 per cent will go to the villages for community surveillance as well as the village taskforces.