The ministry of health has said 120 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed since schools reopened for second term, an indicator that some education institutions are not effectively implementing SOPs.
According to Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the state minister for Health in charge of Primary Health Care, 32 cases have been confirmed in Bishop Cipriano SSS, Kihangire, Luzira, Masaka College of Health Sciences, Masaka (28), Vine Paramedical School, Masaka (30) and Kabale School of Nursing and Midwifery (30).
The minister noted that on investigation, they discovered that these schools were poorly adhering to Covid-19 preventive measures (including use of face masks, social distancing and hand washing) and there is stigma among students which is affecting the student’s ability to report on symptoms and therefore results in big outbreaks.
They also found out that private schools are unwilling to report on cases for fear of closure.
That being observed, the ministry, working that of Education and Sports, have decided that:
- Schools should not close despite confirmation of positive cases unless it is in consultation with the Director General of Ministry of Health.
- Schools should enforce “stay home” policy for learners and teachers that feel unwell, with quick linkage to health authorities.
- Strengthen surveillance in schools with improved recording of attendance for both learners and teachers and instituting symptom monitors to identify cases early.
- Engage with schools on health education risk perception and behaviour change to promote a preventive atmosphere in schools.
- Engage with private schools to improve surveillance and reporting of COVID in these communities.
According to Minister Moriku, there is a widespread community transmission across the country, with at least 70 districts reporting cases on a weekly basis.
The country is now recording an average of 1,900 cases weekly emerging from 127 districts.
“Kampala continues to account for the bulk of the cases, i.e., one-third of all cases nationally,” she said. “West Nile, Elgon and North sub-regions remain the main transmission hotspots. To date, only 9 districts have not reported a case.”
As of November 22, Uganda had registered a total of 18,165 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 8,675 recoveries and a total of 181 deaths.
Trends of deaths
The minister said that patients with severe forms of the disease have been increasing in recent days.
“… this is accompanied with more deaths, as the vulnerable populations such as the elderly (above 60) and those with co-morbid conditions (such as diabetes, hypertension) are more exposed in their communities,” she said.
“However, from our analysis, we shall see more deaths attributable to COVID-19 as the Ugandan outbreak has progressively shifted from the younger age-group (30-39 years) to older age-groups, 50-59 and 60+ years,” she went on.
Uganda is currently in phase 4 of the pandemic and this means that there is disseminated and diffuse community transmission.
“This situation requires consideration and special focus to reduce the increasing number of infections,” the minister said.
Therefore, she went on, the Ministry of Health is developing a resurgence strategy to address the spike in cases.
“This is based on a set threshold which includes number of cases and deaths in a given period. The launch of this strategy in localities experiencing a spike will call for heightened interventions to mitigate further morbidity and mortality.”