Uganda recorded the first case of the virus in March 2020 and since then, there has been a rapid increase in community transmission across the country. By early November, 90% of Uganda’s reported cases were locally transmitted. Currently, Uganda is in Phase 4 of the epidemic with a large number of cases being diagnosed and many clusters of infection reported across the country.
The increased burden of COVID-9 in Uganda has created a big challenge to Uganda’s health system which is currently struggling to manage the confirmed cases. In addition, containment of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is faced with challenges in executing critical prevention and control activities such as isolation of confirmed cases in designated facilities, surveillance, contact tracing, testing and quarantine. The above challenges led the ministry of health to adopt a home-based care (HBC) strategy for confirmed COVID-19 cases that are asymptomatic or those with mild symptoms. Although the districts were placed at the centre of implementation of the HBC strategy, rolling out the strategy has been difficult due to lack of technical expertise and resources.
In November 2020, the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) received a grant from the Development Alternatives, Inc (DAI) to support the ministry of health to implement a COVID-19 HBC strategy in Masaka District, one of the high risk districts in Uganda. AFENET in collaboration with the ministry of health rolled out the HBC intervention on 1st February 2021.
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to COVID-19 prevention and control efforts in Uganda through: (i) activation of the COVID-19 HBC strategy in Masaka District, (ii) enhancing COVID-19 surveillance including case detection in health facilities and community, contact tracing and improving laboratory testing, and (iii) enhanced community sensitization on the steps to minimize transmission.
The AFENET and MoH team briefing the District Health Officer (left)