The International Medical Centre (IMC) has decided to stop night operations because of the curfew announced by President Yoweri Museveni.
In a message to its clients issued on Tuesday IMC said, "due to the COVID19 situation in the country and the presidential directive, IMC has decided to close the night shift till further notice but we will be happy to serve you between 8 am-5 pm every day."
IMC runs ten clinics spread in Entebbe, Jinja, Mbarara, Gulu, Mbale, Mukono, Ntinda and Wandegeya and Kireka. International Medical Group, which operates the clinics, says they will be closed because there will be no people to treat during night hours.
The curfew runs from 7:00 pm today to 6:30 am in the morning. It is part of the measures initiated by government to forestall the potential spread of COVID-19.
Dr Ian Clarke, the chairman of the International Medical Group, says the clinics are being closed to enable health workers to adhere to the president's directive.
"If there's a curfew we cannot have clinics open because most of the people who walk into them are outpatients. And since people are going to be in their houses or even need an RDC letter to get to health centers, we thought it best to close all our clinics because they are likely to remain open and treat no one. We shall, however, leave the hospital open and will have staff working," Clarke said.
According to Clarke, all health workers at Kampala International Hospital located in Namuwongo will be picked from home and sleeping facilities have been availed at the hospital during the curfew.
Health workers are some of the essential staff that were he exempted by the president from the lockdown. However, many of them are still struggling to get their vehicles accredited to move during the 14-day lockdown.
Clarke says this is likely to leave private health facilities understaffed.
"We have decided to get vehicles and ferry our health workers home but as of tonight, we shall not be able to do that. The ministry of Works [and Transport] has been working on clearing vehicles but they begin with government facilities. We were told to go back tomorrow. Which means our staff can't move," Clarke added.
Some facilities like Citizen's Medical Center along Tagore Crescent have closed until further notice. A message from Citizen's Medical Center sent to clients indicated that they had temporarily decided to close but will be available on call.