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The coronavirus has reached Uganda and to date there are 45 cases and, no doubt increasing with very many undiagnosed due to lack of communication. The President has ordered numerous restrictions but, as for the 2 week lock-down, I cannot imagine how those living in the slums in Kampala in such close proximity can possibly escape. Before the virus takes hold, I predict there will be a massive outbreak of the deadly diseases such as cholera and dysentery. The cost of basic food has trebled and the poorest will suffer from hunger and malnutrition. I know that there are very many countries throughout the world in worse situations but these people of Kumi and within our catchment area and living in extreme poverty are close to my heart. It is said that there are only 70 ventilators in the whole of Uganda and these will, no doubt, be in the international hospitals in the big cities. Kumi Hospital has few facilities for the people but some wonderful staff some of whom have been loyal throughout the serious crises which they have experienced over the years. Many are, of course, retired but have been replaced with younger and equally capable staff. I am as proud for what they achieve as I am for our NHS workers. Can you imagine our staff working without their salaries for over 18 months as happened during the worst crisis that I witnessed in 2009? I’ve been home a month now and how, at first, I wished I had been stranded there so that I could continue with my input but I don’t feel like that any longer as I can do more from here. The hospital and patient hygiene facilities leave a lot to be desired with most patients living from hand to mouth and without any available money for food or hospital bills. I am funding a supply of soap for each patient and attendant and I have requested that they receive hygiene education. Mass gatherings are banned so I have sent out the NHS advice and posters to put up in all departments as well as a leaflet which, hopefully, they will print and distribute to staff and patients alike; power, paper and printing ink permitted. We already provide funds to pay for transport and hospital bills for the poorest families whose little ones are malnourished in the hospital Nutrition Unit and the number could well increase. The Medical Director has urgently requested infrared thermometers and we have been able to fund three which are ordered and should arrive in May/June. Hopefully, the arrival will not be diverted as can happen. We need funds to continue helping in case/when the virus reaches that far. Our fund raising has taken a dive in the present situation. Please can you help these people?

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