CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK, CANCER CARE AND SERVICES AT UGANDA CANCER INSTITUTE
1. Q: How is Uganda Cancer Institute operating during the Coronavirus outbreak period?
A: Uganda Cancer Institute continues to provide care for patients with cancer. However, measures have been put in place to avoid spread of Coronavirus infection (COVID-19) within the institute in line with government directives.
People suffering from cancer, including children and cancer survivors are at a higher risk of developing severe forms of Coronavirus disease like the elderly and other people with underlying chronic diseases such diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) etc.
The measures which have been put in place include:
Suspension of all outreach and cancer screening services
Restricting services to only patients with cancer
Mandatory hand washing with soap or alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all entrances
Restricting greeting to only by waving
People keeping a two arms distance (2 Meters) from each other
All meetings shall be held virtually.
Physical meetings shall be held ONLY IF ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY and limited to a maximum of 5 people who should maintain a distance of 2 meters apart during the meeting.
2. Q: Should people suffering from cancer continue to attend their treatment and follow-up visits if their appointment dates fall within the Coronavirus outbreak period?
A: Recommendations regarding attending visits for cancer treatment or follow-up are according to the category each patient falls in as show in the table below:
Category of cancer patient
Patients referred to Uganda Cancer Institute with cancer diagnosis for the first time
Come to the institute report at the institute’s emergency or patients’ reception
Patients actively receiving cancer treatment
Continue to make their visits to Uganda Cancer Institute according to their appointment dates
Patients who completed cancer treatment and are currently on follow - up for a period less than one month
Attend their visits to Uganda Cancer Institute according to their appointment dates
Patients who completed cancer treatment and are on follow-up for a period of 2 months and above
Stay at home until the Coronavirus outbreak period is over
All patients receiving treatment whose appointments fall within the period of 25th March to 30th April 2020 will be contacted to remind them not to miss their treatment.
3. Q: What are the symptoms of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
A: Symptoms of Coronavirus disease include;
aches and pains,
Remember, “these symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment”. (WHO, 9th March 2020). However, if these symptoms occur in a cancer patient who is receiving care at the Uganda Cancer Institute, please contact us (You can call our toll-free numbers 0800 100 800)
4. Q: Is there anything special people suffering from cancer or cancer survivors should know about Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
A: YES: Cancer and cancer treatment lowers the body’s ability to fight disease. Because of this, people with cancer including children, cancer survivors, the elderly (above 60 years of age) and people with other serious chronic health conditions (such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, TB etc.) are at a higher risk of developing the severe form of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
5. Q: What should people suffering from cancer or those who recently completed cancer treatment DO and what should they NOT DO during the COVID-19 outbreak period?
Should stay at home and even at home avoid close physical contact with any visitors from outside the home and any home members that may have flu, sore throat, cough and or fever. This will help reduce the danger of getting infected.
Avoid large social gatherings such as parties, family meetings and close contact with people who are sick.
Regularly wash hands thoroughly with common soap and a lot of water or adequate alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Frequently clean and or disinfect frequently touched objects like phones and surfaces like tables and chairs to remove the coronavirus in case there is contamination.
Consider having your own alcohol-based hand sanitizer to regularly clean your hands whenever you touch any things or surfaces which may be contaminated both at home and outside home.
Avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, pecking or kissing etc.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as this can transfer the virus from surfaces to infect you.
Avoid travelling by public means if possible and if you must travel by public means, ensure to follow the precautions as laid out all through your travel.
6. Q: When patients come to Uganda Cancer Institute for treatment during the Coronavirus outbreak, is there anything special they should expect?
A: YES, all patients and attendants visiting Uganda Cancer Institute must follow the instructions as given within the institute to avoid getting or spreading the Coronavirus infection. Some of the instructions are;
Screening for signs and symptoms of Coronavirus infection (COVID-19) (If anyone is found with the symptoms, they will be directed to the CCCP building which is our triaging centre for full evaluation).
Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer at every entrance
Keep a distance of two arms from each other,
Greet only by waving,
If you need to cough or sneeze step away and cough or sneeze covering your mouth with a handkerchief or in your folded arm and wash your hands immediately
7. Q: Should patients coming to Uganda Cancer Institute for treatment come with attendants as it has always been?
A: ONLY patients who are not able to support themselves will be allowed ONLY ONE attendant. For answers to other questions related to Coronavirus pandemic, its effects on cancer patients Or operations of Uganda Cancer Institute during the current outbreak period visit; www.uci.or.ug, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter@UgandaCancerInst, facebook: Uganda Cancer Institute, toll free telephone: 0800 100 800, director’s office: 0424540410 and 0782320543.