The number of children seeking care for Acute Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs) such as pneumonia reduced by 48 per cent at the height of the lockdown instituted to halt the spread of COVID-19.
This is according to a new study conducted in Wakiso district between April and September last year, by Makerere University paediatricians. The researchers sought to establish the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on access to community health care services for common childhood illnesses among children.
They found malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and injuries were the main childhood conditions for which caregivers sought help. The majority of the respondents said children who had cough or flu were often rushed to a Village Health Team (VHT) member or hospital to rule out COVID-19.
the reductions ARE attributed to the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as hand washing and social distancing. The team of researchers that include experts Sabrina Kitaka and Ministry of Health’s Jesca Nsungwa say in their recommendations that the Ministry of Health needs to empower lower-level facilities and plan for them to face pandemics and disease outbreaks because they are the primary health providers and are key if they are to decongest referral centres.