On 10th April 2020, the Office of the Vice-Chancellor made the first press statement on what Kabale University was doing to support the efforts of Government in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic. The University through its appropriate organs has continued to support Government effort through other urgent interventions. Kabale University is located in a high-risk region, given the porous nature of the borders between Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC; where cases of the people affected have been reported. As such, the region has to increase its vigilance and preparedness. The Kabale District Task Force (DTF) and the Regional Referral Hospital identified key urgent areas that must be addressed to reach the expected level of preparedness, should an outbreak of the Corona Virus occur in the region. Under an MOU between Kabale University (KAB) and Kabale Regional Referral Hospital (KRRH), this Hospital serves as the Teaching Hospital for Kabale University School of Medicine (KABSOM). Hospital facilities are used for the teaching of medical students in addition to the normal health delivery systems. Supporting the renovation of existing facilities falls within the strategic goals and aspirations of creating a conducive environment for medical training by the University and fulfills the national Government objectives, especially within the current environment where the Government health systems and funding are constrained.
Kabale University has provided UGX 72,000,000 (Seventy-two million shillings) to renovate the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) which shall be used as the treatment center, in case of any patients during the current national fight against the Corona Virus Pandemic. The Hospital has been operating without an Intensive Care Unit facility. KAB contractors are executing the works, which are expected to be completed within two weeks. This intervention was identified as a priority area, by the DTF, in consultation with the leadership of Kabale Regional Referral Hospital (KRRH). The region of Kigezi will, therefore, be prepared to take on patients, in general, as well as to care for other medical needs of those patients who require critical care. The ICU, therefore, will continue to play this role beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic and will further provide an important infrastructure for medical student training for the University.
Thirty (30) staff members of Kabale University School of Medicine have joined the rest of the health professionals in the region to provide expertise as and when needed. Six (6) senior members of KABSOM are part of the Kabale District Task Force, serving on the different Committees. The University will mobilize and deploy at least 15 more health workers if the need arises. We thank these professionals for this very much needed service.
The general staff of Kabale University have also responded to the call by H E the President of Uganda by individually contributing towards the Fund to fight COVID-19. Consequently, UGX 3,300,000 (Three million three hundred thousand shillings) has so far been collected. This money has been given to the Districts in the Region of Kigezi, by depositing it at selected Petrol Stations in these Districts to enable the DTF access fuel. The Districts of Kigezi – Kabale, Kanungu, Kisoro, Rubanda, Rukiga, and Rukungiri will benefit.
Each District shall receive a minimum of 150 liters of fuel. This is in the realization of the fact that while vehicles may be available to transport emergency cases, including women in labour and those constrained by other ailments, lack of fuel has been cited as a big obstacle.
As soon as the Government of Uganda embarked on the process of averting the possible spread of COVID-19 across the country, Kabale University gave out 259 liters of fuel to the Kabale District COVID Task Force and 50 liters of fuel to the Rubanda
District Task Force. In addition, a University 14-Seater Van
was immediately availed to the Kabale District Task Force. This Van has continued to serve within Kabale Municipal Council, running errands, and aiding those who need emergency transfers to hospitals, such as pregnant mothers. A University Driver is permanently on standby.
In the meantime, Kabale University has pledged to work with Kabale Regional Referral Hospital to fundraise for the following additional essentials:
- Generator for the ICU – (17kVA 415 V) – (UGX 55M)
- Renovation of the Isolation Operation Theatre – (UGX 20M) CCTV system for the ICU – (UGX 10M)
- Mobile C-arm X-ray Unit for the Isolation Ward – (UGX 85M).
- CT Scan for the ICU – (UGX 2Bn – Two billion)
The Kabale University community once again deeply appreciates the efforts of the Government of Uganda, under the leadership of H E the President; applauds the work of the Ministry of Health and all its supporting units; and very much thanks to the National Task Team on Fundraising; all the Companies and individuals who have responded to this call.
The University community appreciates the Guidance provided by its parent Ministry – the Ministry of Education and Sports, on how to run educational institutions during this period.
Kabale University community thanks the University Council for its guidance and for the release of funds towards the urgent need to get rid of COVID-19
Lastly, Kabale University community is urged to observe all the guidelines provided by Presidential Directives and the Guidelines of the Ministry of Health to stay safe and “kick COVID-19 out of Uganda”.
Professor Joy C Kwesiga
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KNOWLEDGE IS THE FUTURE
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY