September 21, 2021

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MPs launch support fund for health workers managing Covid-19

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Legislators on the Western region parliamentary taskforce on Covid-19 during their visit at Kabale hospital. Courtesy photo

Kabale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Western region parliamentary taskforce on Covid-19 has launched a support financial campaign titled “Rodney Fund” to facilitate purchase of drugs for health workers who contract Covid-19 while on duty in Kabale district.

The Rodney Fund is named after Rodney Tabaruka, the senior pharmacist in charge of the drug store at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital.

According to Kabale municipality MP Dr. Nicholas Thaddeus Kamara, while touring Kigezi in mid July this year, the Western region parliamentary taskforce on Covid-19  found out that health workers were struggling to raise funds for their own medication after contracting Covid-19 while on duty.

The MPs led by Hoima city legislator Joseph Ruyonga decided to start up the Rodney Fund specifically to act as back up for the purchase of medicine to support Covid-19 infected health workers at Kabale hospital.

Dr. Kamara explained that the initiative was meant to supplement government’s efforts and to also awaken responsible planning authorities in charge of the health sector. He said it was unfortunate that health workers should struggle to pay for their own medical treatment even when they fall sick in line of duty.

Dr. Christopher Wagobera, the officer in-charge of the Covid-19 treatment centre said that so far, over 65 health workers have contracted Covid-19 in Kabale. No one has died, but they have had challenges meeting costs for their own treatment especially when it comes to buying medicines.

Senior pharmacist Rodney Tabaruka said that they lack essential drugs for treatment of Covid-19 including  Tocilizumab whose full dosage costs around 10.5 million Shillings for a single patient, and clexane which is used to treat thrombosis.

He said that in most cases they ask patients to buy the drugs because the National Medical Stores do not include such drugs in the packages sent to government hospitals.

The Kabale Regional Referral Hospital Asst. Director Dr. Ann Marion Namutebi commended the MPs for the generosity they demonstrated for health workers at the hospital. Namutebi said their doors were open to anyone else willing to contribute to the Rodney Fund for the well being of the staff at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Rodney Fund was launched with 7 million Shillings contributed by the legislators on the Western Uganda Parliamentary Task force on COVID-19. Area MP Dr. Nicholas Kamara contributed 4 million out of of the seven million shillings.

By the time of filing this story, 4 million shillings had already been used to buy some of the basic drugs for managing COVID-19 at Kabale hospital.

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