Ebola Scare Throws Kabale Hospital into Panic

3517 Views Kabale, Western Region, Uganda

In short
Business at Kabale referral Hospital is returning to normal after a stampede on Wednesday afternoon when a suspected Ebola patient was brought into the health facility.

Business at Kabale referral Hospital is returning to normal after a stampede on Wednesday afternoon when a suspected Ebola patient was brought into the health facility.

The patients turned rowdy while those who were capable of walking immediately started leaving the hospital saying that they never wanted to contract the deadly disease. Some health workers at the facility were also seen fleeing.

It started when an Ambulance arrived from Rugarama Hospital with a patient and his attendant as well as two health workers who were putting on protective gear.

When the ambulance arrived, the health workers who had come to receive the patient fled after seeing those from Rugarama hospital and came back later but refused to touch the patient. They asked those who had brought him to take him to the room which serves as a Tuberculosis ward, which is near the maternity ward sparking off resistance from the expectant mothers and their attendants. The people in the maternity ward accused the health workers of neglecting them and putting the patient near them.

As a result the expectant mothers started fleeing the hospital and patients from other wards also followed suit.

The health workers who would have stopped the patients from the hospital had also earlier fled after getting the news and the gate was left open and patients went back to their homes.

The confusion lasted for about two hours as patients discharged themselves from the hospital.
At the maternity ward, Sister Regina Namukwaya tried to convince the mothers to go back to the ward but in vain. She was later joined by the Kabale district woman Member of Parliament Ninsiima Ronah Rita, who also asked the women to go back but few of them responded positively while others opted to stay outside.

The Ebola suspect who was at first ignored by the health workers managed to walk on his own from the ambulance to the ward that was allocated to him.

Namukwaya, who is also acting principal nursing officer, says blood samples have been taken to Kampala for tests and the patient is still admitted in the TB ward.

But the most of the patients are yet to return to the hospital, according to Namukwaya.

A health worker from Rugarama Hospital where the patient first reported told Uganda Radio Network that the patient and his wife have been in Kibaale district and came to Kabale at the beginning of this week.

She said that they informed the Kabale district director of health services about the planned referral but he never responded and they decided to take him to the referral hospital.

Kabale hospital medical superintendent Dr Placid Mihayo was out of office.

URN could not reach Dr Patrick Tusiime, the Kabale district Director of Health Services for a comment on the matter as he was not in office and his phone number 0772406672 could not go through.

Dr Sheila Ndyanabangi,  a principal medical officer from the Ministry of health who is also a secretary  in charge of Kigezi region, visited the hospital and asked the patients who were fleeing to return to the hospital and get treatment instead of going to their homes.

She revealed that the ministry is containing the disease in other districts.
At least 16 people died of the hemorrhagic virus that struck Kibaale district last month.


About the author

Anthony Kushaba
For Anthony Kushaba, journalism is not just a job; it is a calling. Kushaba believes journalism is one of the few platforms where the views of the oppressed and margainalised can be heard. This is what his journalism aims to do: bring to light untold stories.

Kushaba is the Mbarara region URN bureau chief. Mitooma, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Sheema, Isingiro, and Kiruhura districts fall under his docket. Kushaba has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Kushaba is a journalism graduate from Uganda Christian University Study Centre at Bishop Barham College in Kabale. Before joining URN, Kushaba worked with Voice of Kigezi (2008), Bushenyi FM (2010) and later on to Voice of Muhabura.

Kushaba's journalism interests centre on conflict, peace and electoral reporting. Kushaba occasionally writes on tourism, health, religion and education. He describes himself as highly driven and will pursue a tip until it yields a story.