By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kampala, Uganda: Presenting on self-medication in the context of covid-19, Veronica Masanja revealed the vice hiked during the pandemic across the country.
Veronica says, ‘out of 563 respondents that were sampled, 62% reported that they had self-medicated. The most medicine used were antibiotics (The most used antibiotics was azithromycin) which is very worrying because they contribute to the highest microbial resistance and we know how dangerous that is compared to the current infections in the country’.
Veronica Masanja speaks to journalists during the 8th National Field Epidemiology Conference 2022. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
“If people cannot respond to anti biotics, it poses a big problem then that means we need to revise which is always a very long process and economically impacting”. Said Masanja.
“We found out that one of the biggest challenges was access to medicine both Prescription Only Medicine (P.O.M) and counter medicine. You walk into a pharmacy and say ‘I want Amoxil’ and no one will ask why you want it which is worrisome”. She added
She stressed that in this, there is need to ensure that pharmacies and private clinics adhere to the policies by national drug authority if the vice is to be dealt with.
She added that there is need to reach out to communities and sensitize them on the long-term adverse effect of self-medication.
The same conference highlighted on air safety around Kampala where Mackline Ninsiima told this website that as per the data analyzed between January 2021 and June 2022, not on any day were they able to achieve the world health organization air quality targeted levels.
Mackline Ninsiima presenting at the 8th National Field Epidemiology Conference 2022. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
She stated that it is of a great concern and the Kampala capital city authority (KCCA) has utilized the available data to develop the KCCA Clean Air Action Alan that has several interventions spanning from individual responsibility to also other stake holders.
She revealed that traffic emissions, burning of solid waste, dust from unpaved roads, bio mass fuel burning (charcoal, firewood) and others.
She recommended that there is need for multisectoral response and that policy makers should be at the center of this, introduction of electric vehicles, infrastructural development (paving of roads) if we are to archive the great strides we are looking up to.
While presenting on the risk factors of death among hospitalized pregnant women with Covid-19 between June 2020 to August 2022, Stella Martha Migamba revealed that on the 11 hospitals across the regions of Uganda where they conducted a study, 33 women had died from covid 19 symptom in Uganda in that period and 109 had not died.
97% of the 33 women who had died had covid-19 symptoms at admission notably had difficulties in breathing and 58% of these women had severe to critical covid 19 and had also sought medical care from other low level medical facilities including lower health centers, clinics.
For pregnant women who did not die, many of them did not seek care at the lower level health facilities but went straight to bigger hospitals.
Dr. alex ario the Director Uganda National institute of Public Health at Ministry of Health said that Uganda is prone to out breaks that includes malaria, cholera, ebola, jiggers, but we always give prominence to high priority pathogens like covid 19 and ebola.
“In the last three years, we have had covid 19 and we have been going on with covid and Ebola of recent so the conference is meant to bring to the lie light what has been going on as it regards to response in general”. Said Dr. Ario.
He therefore said that the conference brings field epidemiologists together (frontline responders). ‘They go in the field, generated evidence, look for cases and eventually ensure that they are all admitted thereby breaking the chain of transmission’
He went to inform that this also brings about many things like public health studies, epidemiological studies, cost analysis studies or quality improvement studies.
The conference was organized under the theme: Sustaining efforts to build a resilient disease surveillance and response system and was organized by Makerere University School of Public Health and Uganda National Institute of Public under Ministry of Health and other partners like Centre for Diseases Control (CDC), Department for Health and Human Services USA.
The event will climax tomorrow with graduation of the 7th Cohort for the field Epidemiology track at Speke Resort Munyonyo organized by Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program.