VIRAL HEMORRHAGIC FEVERS AND PRACTICING DENTISTRY IN A RURAL HOSPITAL IN UGANDA
November 20, 2012
The most memorable period of a viral hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Uganda was in the years of 2000-2001, which was confirmed to be Ebola . This claimed many lives of patients and health workers as the laboratory diagnosis process took some good days and most health workers probably like me did not know the mode of transmission and relevant preventive measures. Three years later, when I joined the school of dentistry, I started to fully and scientifically understand the hemorrhagic fever diseases.
In 2007, there was an outbreak of both Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever which again claimed the lives of patients and health workers; this was yet another scare in the middle of my training.
In 2008 there was Marburg, 2011 Ebola, 2012 Ebola and Marburg, and the common trend here is the health workers continue to die in these outbreaks and this happens in the rural hospitals. I propose a study to understand the pattern/rate of the outbreak.
Most rural hospitals do not have full protective gears, except when there is a major operation and most staff seem not to make better use of the few protective gears. The signs and symptoms of hemorrhagic fevers suggest that in rural hospitals dentists like other health workers are at high chances of coming in to contact with the hemorrhagic fever through patient contact without better protective gears, and at the same time continue to expose other patients. This has made most dentists to take leave, and rural hospitals have no/few dentists.
More information on the hemorrahgic fever outbreak can be found in the WHO and Ministry of Health Uganda website.