Coronavirus reminded us of politics in access to healthcare services

Let me start by sharing my experience yesterday in search of a health facility which still had dozes of AstraZeneca in stock. Our journey started at the Uganda Virus Research Institute Clinic in Entebbe, where we were told the dozes were over. They are just waiting for new stock. When it will arrive, they did not know.

We asked at UVI where else in Entebbe we might find some. They directed us to Entebbe Hospital. At the gate of Entebbe Hospital we were told that the dozes were out of stock and the nearest we could try was either Kisubi Hospital or Mildmay Hospital. We drove on to Kisubi and to Mildmay. At their gates, we were told that the dozes were over and they were also waiting for more.

I took an executive decision and requested our driver to drive on into Kampala for I was determined to get the vaccine as soon as possible – I am the target age and my job puts me at high risk of contracting the virus.

We went directly to Kololo Independence Grounds, where the mass vaccination had taken place prior to the second lock down. There was no sign anything of the kind of vaccination activities was happening. It looked deserted.

At the gate of the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital

We moved on to Naguru to the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital where we met an extraordinary security guard. From his accent he sounded like he is originally from Bukonzo. From how he dressed and how he handled us in a professional manner, we were very impressed. I asked him if I could take a picture to share and he granted permission.

He directed us to KCCA Hospital and at first we branched into the KCCA local government offices in Naguru, from whence we were directed to Kiswa KCCA Hospital and it is there that we were well received and we got our first doze of the vaccine.

Our vehicle at Kiswa KCCA Hospital

Uganda is in lock down. Vehicles – public and private – are generally not allowed to move, except certain types of vehicles of the ‘privileged’. Yes, I am privileged to be the head of a nonprofit organisation and thus have access to that type of vehicle. Hence, I was able to chase down the vaccine.

I am sure you are beginning to appreciate the gist of the title of this post. Geo-politically, Uganda is among the less powerful countries who must wait for the powerful countries to first have all their citizens vaccinated before Uganda can have sufficient access to adequate dozes of the vaccines.

And the few dozes of the vaccines that come in-country, internal geopolitics, seemingly, is also determining who gets their shot first.

Well, let us wait and see.

“The Victorians romanticized the disease (tuberculosis) and the effects it caused in the gradual build to death. For decades, many beauty standards emulated or highlighted these effects. And as scientists gained greater understanding of the disease and how it was spread, the disease continued to keep its hold on fashion.”

Read more in Emily Mullin’s “How Tuberculosis shaped Victorian Fashion”

At Kiswa KCCA Hospital

What shall be the long lasting effects of the coronavirus on our cultural norms and practices? In which direction are we moving that is irreversible?

5 responses to “Coronavirus reminded us of politics in access to healthcare services”

  1. At first I didn’t see how dangerous the covid 19 virus was I was seeing from TV how Chinese were suffering and I thought it would not reach us on Uganda but when wave two came in I got scared seeing our people dying but I felt Abit encouraged because I had done my first vaccine in may 2021.
    I got inspired by one of our innovator opolo James who told me that after the vaccination he felt very normal and the vaccine was for free and now when I hard Dorah and Ann who also wanted to vaccinate at LIRA regional referral hospital since I wanted company I called my cousin sister and she also went with us I moved so quickly very early in the morning to make a line but there was a lot of confusion because we were given concent forms to fill and after filling the form again the Dr in charge came in and said the vaccine is little so they will start with the elderly and teachers for a moment I thought I was going to get my shot quickly but again they started asking for school IDs but I didn’t have one and I got very annoyed but later we had to follow a very long line and got the shot after standing for six hours and am happy that am abit covered with the vaccine .
    But what I see with the rest of the youth I have interacted with they are say covid is not real, others say they will drink alot of alcohol and some tell me that I will die in 2yrs time because the vaccine is fake especially my 28years old neighbor but I keep encouraging the rest of the people I encounter to vaccinate because I feel normal even after the I wish the government can get for us the vaccine that can help stop the virus and I will encourage more .


  2. Infact myself like many youth I have interacted with never bothered about taking the vaccines, I got my first doze in May 2021 after so much persuasion from my dad, I remember he told me one morning not to come back to his home if I don’t go for vaccination and I should bring him scared for evidence that I had been vaccinated and he also said the nature of my job was too risky and even I might be required by my bosses to get the vaccines inorder for me to be allowed to continue working, so I woke up by 6am one Friday morning and went to Lira Referral Hospital because there it was first come first serve and by 7am I was already there,but I met three gentlemen of about 50years already at the scene waiting to be vaccinated, that day the whole place was full of people unlike these other days because that morning news was all over the local radios that 80 cases of covid was found in Oyam district and it almost brought everyone who boycotted the vaccines at first, the place was so crowed that one could have again contracted the virus from there,because there was nothing like social distancing and people were all struggling to get vaccinated,the doctor came and announced that the turnup for that day was much abnormal like any other days that people could be even less than ten the whole day but that day the turn up was over 500 because people even came from far villages,the doctor made an announcement that he would start with teachers and it brought alot of confusion because the people who came earlier got annoyed and some started saying teachers were given first priority and most of. Them boycotted and so now they have to wait for people who came first

    I was the fourth person to reach the hospital for the vaccines that day but because people already started using the technical know who,if you have no connection,you don’t get the vaccines early because even the doctor started saying that the vaccines would not be enough for everyone, I got my vaccines at around 2:45 pm on the afternoon even after getting aconnection because I was almost giving up and I wanted to leave the hospital but my dad called his friend who’s a doctor at the facility and he came and took me and my sister and we were finally vaccinated, I don’t know what happened to the other people who remained but there were still very many to be vaccinated but all I know is that if it had not been for that connection, I wouldn’t have got the vaccines. My next doze will be in August, am eagerly waiting to finish.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My father inspired me to go for the jab, At first I was scared because of some people kept saying jab could kill you and also listening to complains people had about jab. Alady in a whatsapp group shared her experience in the hospital when her mother was injected , she said her mother’s condition worsened even after the jab and this led to her death. but many ogs in the group kept on encouraging giving examples of themselves after receiving their first shots and also medical personnels kept clarifying and giving explanations as to why the jab didn’t work for some people.At that point, I still needed to talk to my friends about, when I shared the idea with them, they were so negative about it but finally I took courage, with my elder sister and another friend and went straight to Lira referral hospital.we arrived at 7:30am hoping to be served as early as possible but to my dismay, the people concerned started organizing at around 10:00am .As we sat there very many people kept coming untill there was no chairs for everyone , most people stood under the tree and finally they started at 11:00am , giving priority to teachers and elders and that meant I had to wait some more minutes , we collected our forms together with that of the police men since we could not wait to served.they would call names and after , you line up . meanwhile in the line, they kept asking your age and occupation and when my turn reached, they told me am under aged and still a student but ie insisted and finally the nurse allowed. They would count ten people and out them in a tent to receive their shots , where most men on long sleeve shirt had to remove their shirts to be able to receive.
    After I had received my shot, I was waiting for the side effects to happen but in vain .So the next weekend ie went off to my friends at lira university to tell them the good news but most , did not even know that the University hospital was also administering jab to patients , And also my friends took courage and also went for the jab .


  4. Getting Covid19 vaccine has been a hard struggle for Ugandans. I got my first vaccine in April 2021 then told to report back to the hospital for 2nd jab after 8weeks but later I went and again told to get back after more 4weeks and I asked why, then the nurse told me they (ministry of health) had changed the duration between 1st and 2nd jabs to 12weeks! I came back home and later heard it over the local radio in Lira that government has brought in more vaccines but it’s recommended for 2nd jab only, then I went to the same hospital (P.A.G Mission Hospital in Lira City) and got my 2nd jab. This time I had taken only 2weeks, I was given the vaccine card with all the vaccination dates recorded. You can imagine that people have varied second dose duration which falls between (8-12months), now who to be blame?

    The young people seems not to be so much into the vaccination drive as government has been advocating for mainly essential workers and particular age brackets (50+) which made many young people to have little interests in looking for Covid19 vaccines. Within our research area, I asked some few young persons and they would say their parents went and for them, they didn’t go as the government said elders first! And worst of it all, some told me they went like twice and found vaccines not available, and vaccines only given on specific dates, most hospital in Lira only vaccinate on Tuesday or Fridays which doesn’t favor some young people who work and has off-duty over the weekends. Others said the rooms vaccines are administered has no privacy (it’s like a hall with over 20people) and you can find men bare-chested as they unbuttoned their shirts to receive vaccine on their shoulder which is bad. The hospital would have created or used small enclosed cloth called hospital screen which folds in four steps and very portable just to have some kind of privacy as it look ackwward for one to go in dressed well then remove his coat, tie, shirt then remain in vest or even bared before others! Also, some ladies do suffer the same as they end up trying to pull off some parts of their blouse to give space for injection/jabs.

    Liked by 1 person

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