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Fighting Coronavirus Together: You Can’t get Past Gutaka’s Temperature Gun if you Have COVID-19


KIU, Western Campus – When KIU Teaching Hospital procured an infra-red thermometer, commonly known as a temperature gun, Emmanuel Gutaka did not know he would be taking on one of the riskiest tasks on the COVID-19 pandemic frontline.

Gutaka is always stationed right at the front of the hospital Nursing department’s reception, which was shifted to the entrance at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Uganda, and he operates the temperature gun, as part of the COVID-19 screening process. 

Shifting the reception to the hospital entrance was one of the first safety measures put in place by the hospital’s COVID-19 taskforce.

“I take every individual’s temperature as they come in and when it is below 37.6 degrees Celsius, I then allow them to enter the hospital,” Gutaka says.

Gutaka, a registered nurse, also sometimes takes people’s biodata like names, address and history and their vitals like blood pressure, height, weight and Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC).

He says his average day starts at 8:00 am and ends at 5:00 pm and by the time he leaves his duty post, he has screened over 300 people, including hospital staff.

The hospital, according to Gutaka, has one of the most competent COVID-19 taskforces in the country, with a multi-pronged approach to combating the pandemic.

“Our COVID-19 taskforce follows every guideline issued by the Ministry of Health and of late, as per the President’s directive on wearing face masks in public, no one can enter the hospital without it,” Gutaka says.

“But we don’t only do this. Our health workers have done a lot of sensitization about COVID-19 on Crane radio and within the hospital, where there are placards with information about the disease everywhere,” he adds.

Gutaka warns the public to be conscious of the disease because it spares no one.

“Despite your status, age and level of income, you are susceptible to contracting COVID-19. So we should all be alert and follow the Ministry’s guidelines,” Gutaka says.

Photo credit: Collins Kakwezi