More residents in Arua are embracing testing for COVID-19 especially through the antigen rapid diagnostic tests RDT, amidst challenges of limited test kits.
A number of lower facilities are also testing people with signs and symptoms of the disease and contacts of those who test positive for the disease.
At Adumi Health Center III in Arua city, records show that about 10 people are tested daily using the Rapid Diagnostic Test RDT.
‘’It is free of charge but we give priority to certain group of people. One is patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 and are contacts of someone who was positive. Second priority group is people who have signs and symptoms of the disease. In addition to this we also do contact tracing. But I can say over 10 people come here every day and that’s not a small number’’, said Dr Muzeyi Wani, the in charge of Adumi Health Centre III in Arua City.
At Bondo Health Center III in Arua district, the facility continues to receive people for voluntary testing for the virus.
However the in charge of the facility, Alan Harogha reveals that, due to limited test kits, they only consider the priority groups.
"There are those who come with symptoms voluntarily and we test them. There are also those who come without any symptom and want to be tested. The problem we have here is that because of limited supplies we give priority to targeted groups. But under normal circumstances we would be overwhelmed by huge numbers of people demanding to be tested for the virus’’, he said.
Meanwhile, the acting Arua District Health Officer, Bishop Paul explains that the rapid diagnostic tests done at health center III levels is to enable quick response to cases.
The figures Rates of testing for COVID-19 have been steadily increasing as the pandemic progresses. And more people currently are embracing testing for corona virus, according to a new study.
Findings of the survey conducted by Twaweza in June indicate that one out of three or more residents say that at least one person in their household has been tested for the Coronavirus, compared to one in seven who tested for the disease in 2020.
The increase in testing comes as several Ugandan citizens come to terms with a spike in infections traced to the Delta variant which is believed to be more infectious. Despite reports from the ministry of health indicating that testing has increased for the last two months across the country, there are also calls for the government to weigh in and regulate the exorbitant prices being charged by some facilities.
Dr. Susan Nabadda, the commissioner Laboratory and Diagnostic Services, also the executive director Uganda National Laboratory advises on adherence to Standard operating procedures due as a better alternative due to inadequate testing kits.
“The Ugandan Government is working hard to ensure the availability of tests and vaccines. However, in our context, testing is not a viable measure for self-protection. We do not have the test kits or the resources to facilitate multiple regular tests for citizens. In this context, we must emphasize the realistic protective measures that can be taken by all Ugandans no matter their location or economic status. We are pleased to see high uptake of hand washing and masks and we encourage citizens to continue making use of these important measures. However we also renew our call for citizens to practice social distancing and to educate themselves about and then avoid high risk places.”
COVER PHOTO: COVID-19-test-cassette. Several members of the community in Arua are embracing testing for the virus.