Panic as children fiddle with COVID-19 patients’ used items as toys in Arua


Arua – Panic has gripped locals of hospital cell after five children picked waste from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) positive patients’ management centre at Arua regional referral hospital to play within their homes.

The waste items include; face/nose masks, plastic water bottles, cups and buckets, overall clothing and jackets among others.

The items were picked up from the Arua COVID-19 positive center where five truck drivers are currently being managed.

The waste materials were taken for incineration on Sunday but left at the incinerator by the MSF team working at the coronavirus center after they found the workers at the site were off duty.

However, one of the Askaris who works at the incinerator told our reporter that by the time he moved closer to the incinerator, he found plastic bags containing waste were already scattered outside where tipper lorries park.

“I saw two people and behind them a white man from MSF who came with the bags to the incinerator and thereafter, they went back but again after ten minutes, the white man came back to check if the waste were already burnt since they did not find the workers there,” said the Askari who preferred not to be named.

The Askari further explained that after some time, he went to check at the incinerator only to find a lunatic holding one of the overalls in his hand while some children who normally come to look for assets had picked some of the bottles, plastic cups and other items and went away.

The Askari said he and another colleague working at the lower gate forced the lunatic to leave the waste cloth after they canned him and they burnt it there and then.

According to sources at the medical equipment center which shares boundary with the incinerator, every day in the evening hours, children, desperate adults and lunatics storm the incinerator area to pick medical waste which they go to use at homes and also sell.

However, David Asizua, the LC 1 chairman hospital cell who on Monday made follow up of the items taken by the four children said they have resolved to fence off the porous border of the hospital where the incinerator is located to stop people from entering to pick waste any more.

He added that some of the items like tubes were recovered from the homes of the children and taken for immediate burning at the incinerator, adding that they have ordered the parents of the four children to quarantine them at their respective homes.

Dr. Philbert Nyeko, the Arua regional referral hospital director condemned the act by the communities of picking waste from the hospital and said with the presence of the coronavirus now in Arua, the public should desist from practices that can prompt the spread of the disease.

Dr. Nyeko has also appealed to the families involved to voluntarily go for quarantine at the Arua nursing school.

According to sources within the hospital, the waste from the COVID-19 management centre was thoroughly sprayed and disinfected first before being taken for incineration.

But some of the medical workers at the hospital have demanded that the waste from the COVID-19 positive centre in Arua be managed from within the isolation to avoid the danger of spreading the disease.

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