KAMPALA – A Ugandan doctor has narrated how she nearly suffocated to death after testing positive of coronavirus.
Dr Phionah Atuhebwe, who works with the World Health Organisation (WHO), said that she had been at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus at the organisation’s office in Congo Brazzaville.
She said all seemed to be going on well until April 12, 2020, which was Easter Sunday, when things changed.
Dr Atuhebwe said on April 14, a doctor who had taken samples from her as one of the contacts called her and broke the news that she was among four of the 44 people that had tested positive for coronavirus.
“I don’t still remember how I felt. I was surprised but at the same time I remained strong,” Dr Atuhebwe, who is currently at a hospital in Berlin, Germany, said in an interview she posted on her social media pages on Thursday, May 7.
But at the same time, she said thoughts started running through her mind given that she was working in a country with a poorly equipped health care system, including not even having an Intensive Care Unit.
Nevertheless, she said that she was still strong, she remained in high spirits and in self isolation.
However, Dr Atuhebwe said matters got out of hand about six days later when she became weak, dizzy and developed severe headache. She said that she was also feeling chest congestion.
“At this time, in my mind, I felt that I should return home where the medical facilities are available,” she said.
However, Dr Atuhebwe said that her employers decided that she be flown to Berlin, Germany for treatment.
She said that she was evacuated with a special flight after being dressed up in overalls from head to toe.
She said that she was also put on a special hospital on the cargo plane.
“This was one of toughest moments of my life. The space was narrow and I could not feel free,” she said.
Nevertheless Dr Atuhebwe said that the plane arrived in Berlin after about 10 hours where she says she was put in the care of very kind doctors who looked after her.
She said during her stay in ICU, she heard many Covid-19 patients groaning and screaming in pain.
“In all this, I kept praying and thanking God since my condition was not worse than those others who were groaning,” Dr Atuhebwe said.
She said she was put on treatment and had since been declared negative following two tests.
She urged Ugandans not to underestimate the danger of coronavirus.
“Coronavirus is real. Stay home, stay home! Some of you think that you are being inconvenienced by the lockdown but you will get the disease and then you will know what it means,” she said.
Dr Atuhebwe sent the video interview on the day she is celebrating her 37th birthday.
She thanks all those who sent her birthday messages and supported her during this tough time.