An increasing number of people are showing up at hospitals with complications related to COVID-19, long after recovery from the viral respiratory disease, according to health workers.
Dr Christine Sekajja, a Physician at Mulago National Referral Hospital who is part of the COVID-19 treatment team told this publication in an interview that many people still encounter breathing complications and chest pain and the CT scan results are still abnormal for many.
According to the World Health Organization, these complications also known as Long COVID syndrome are varied among sufferers whereby some people may merely suffer from prolonged fatigue, and yet others may battle severe lung damage.
More concerning is that the organization reports that it’s unclear whether these people will battle these complications for life or will be free from the syndrome after some time. However, that’s not the only mystery surrounding the condition as doctors say that it’s also not yet clear whether the problems result from the acute respiratory disease itself or the drugs used in treatment.
As a result, many treatment options are being tried out, according to Isaac Kakooza a physiotherapist at Nakasero Hospital. He says that a lot of patients battling the post-COVID condition have been referred for physiotherapy.
Speaking at the Science Café Organized by the Health Journalists Network in Uganda, Kakooza said in every ten people suffering from COVID-19, one battles long COVID, and children are affected just like adults. He says the majority of the patients that have come through for physiotherapy complain of unexplained pains and abnormal exhaustion.
In Mulago Hospital, Sekajja says people with Post – COVID lung disease are among the majority in the pulmonary diseases ward. She explains that since the number of active COVID-19 cases reduced, they have integrated COVID-19 into routine care and severely sick COVID-19 patients who trickle in once in a while are isolated within the ward for people with general lung diseases.
The doctor says they recently hadn’t had any COVID-19 patients admitted until last week and early this week when they recorded two active cases requiring admission.
Meanwhile, Uganda has no figures to show the exact number of people battling long –COVID currently but the doctors say anyone who still suffers from COVID-like symptoms persisting three months after recovery is categorized as a Long COVID case.