Tension as Congolese refugee succumbs to Covid-19 in Kyangwali settlement

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DR Congo Batalinga community performing a traditional dance at Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in 2017. (Photo: Kazi-njema reporter)

A Congolese refugee has succumbed to Covid-19 in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement, Kikuube District triggering tension among the settlers.

Dr Nicholas Kwikiriza, the Kikuube District Health Officer (DHO), says the deceased was a 27-year-old male Congolese refugee a resident of Maratatu village in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement.

He says the deceased presented with Covid-19 like symptoms including severe headache, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing and chest pain among others over the weekend.

The Congolese was first admitted at Maratatu Health Centre 3 on 6 this month.

Dr Kwikiriza adds that the deceased was later transferred to Hoima Regional Referral Hospital Covid-19 Treatment Unit on 7 this month when his condition deteriorated.

Samples were picked from the deceased and taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) Entebbe on 8 this month for testing.

However, Dr Kwikiriza says the patient died on 8 this month before results from the sample were returned.

The medic said this morning (Monday) that the test results issued last evening (Sunday) show that the deceased succumbed to Covid-19 triggering tension among health workers in Hoima and Kikuube districts.

According to Dr Kwikiriza, reports indicate that the deceased escaped recently from the settlement area to DR Congo before crossing back and joining his colleagues in the settlement.

The deceased is suspected to have contracted the disease from DR Congo.

This is the first Covid-19 case being reported in Kikuube district ever since the pandemic broke out in the country in March this year.

Mr Richard Tabaro, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner (RDC) who doubles as the Kikuube District Covid-19 Taskforce Chairman, says that the authorities have embarked on tracing the deceased’s contacts for isolation.

When contacted, Ms Jolly Kebirungi, the Kyangwali Refugee Camp Commandant, confirmed the development but said that she was still locked up in a meeting.

Located in western Uganda near the border with DR Congo, Kyangwali Refugee Settlement is home to more than 120,072 refugees as per Uganda refugee statistics as of June 2020.

Due to its geographical location, Congolese refugees form the majority of the population in the settlement which also hosts Rwandese, Burundians, South Sudanese, Somalis and Kenyans.

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