IGCP Donated COVID-19 Machine Aids Testing and Management of COVID-19 in Buhoma

Blog | 10/04/22

In Sept 2021, IGCP with support from WWF-UK donated a Gene 3 COVID-19 PCR testing machine to Bwindi community hospital found in Buhoma. Buhoma is found in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is about 95.6 KMs away from Kabale regional referral hospital. Bwindi community hospital serves an average population of 100,000 people from the local communities in and around the area (https://www.sanctuaryretreats.com/philanthropy-projects-uganda-bwindi-community hospital-project: Being a population neighboring the gorilla park and many Kilometers away from upscale health facilities with challenging poor road and communication network, it was only imperative that a machine is given to the facility to aid in timely diagnosis and management of the novel corona virus disease. Since its donation, hundreds including tourists, students, community members, Bwindi National Park staff and Hospital staff have all been tested for COVID-19 allowing for timely interventions in the case of positive cases including isolation of patients and their contacts to avoid further spread.

“If it was not for timely diagnosis and treatment, I could probably have lost my life. I had severe COVID-19 symptoms and could barely breath, thanks to IGCP for this machine. It has surely
helped us to save lives in Buhoma,” says Isaac Orikushaba, Bwindi Community Hospital Laboratory Officer.

Before the donation, COVID-19 samples for symptomatic patients were collected and sent to Kampala for diagnosis and results would return after two weeks, but with the availability of the machine results are gotten in 6 hours. Commenting on the purpose of this donation Henry Mutabaazi, IGCP Uganda’s Country Coordinator, says it was meant to aid timely management
of COVID-19 among the community with the overall aim of minimizing the risk of disease transmission to the gorillas. “Thank God, till date no mountain gorilla has tested positive for COVID-19. It is because of such measures, and many more enforced by UWA that such
successes have been registered” Henry adds

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) currently consists of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and the World Wide Fund for Nature. We recognise that the earth's survival is dependent on humanity's ability to maintain a healthy and balanced environment that includes all species of wildlife.