By Markson Omagor
The government of Uganda has given new directives in combating the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
In his address to the public this morning, the Director General Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Henry Mwebase said statistics show that the number of cases and deaths are increasing.
“It’s obvious from our statistics that the number of cases and deaths are increasing. Our data shows that the most affected age group is 20-39 years old,” he said.
Some of the measures put forward by government on top following the usual SOPs include ensuring that all teachers and lecturers get vaccinated.
“The teachers/lecturers who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to take the lifesaving exercise seriously and get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Dr. Mwebase stressed.
He also appealed to administrators of schools to step up vigilance, identify sick learners/ teachers early, enforce adherence to SOPs and report promptly to the nearest health facility any suspected cases.
The Ministry has noted a sharp rise in the number of COVID 19 cases in schools. As of 18th May 2021, a total of 29 schools from 17 districts, have recorded a total of 803 cases and 01 death.
The affected schools include; 10 Nursing Schools, 11 Secondary schools, 7 Primary schools, 1 PTC and 1 tertiary institution. Some Universities have also reported cases and are under investigations.
The main drivers of transmission in schools are overcrowding, non-adherence to SOPs and inadequate supervision of the learners.
On the Covid 19 vaccine uptake at district levels, Dr. Mwebase warned that Health Facilities that will put to waste the vaccines will be penalized.
“Take note that there will be penalties for those that waste vaccines or allow vaccines in their possession to expire yet these are very expensive lifesaving vaccines.” He warned.
The district leaderships are requested to cooperate with National Medical Stores (NMS) teams and release all vaccines vials in their possession to these teams. Only 10 vials will be retained by the districts for purposes of giving the second dose to those who are eligible.
He added that the exercise of returning unutilized vaccines should start today 27th May 2021.
“Communication was sent to the Chief Administrative Officers, Chairpersons LCV’s, Resident District Commissioners and District Health Officers informing them of this impending withdrawal.” Dr. Mwebase said.
He revealed that this decision was taken on the 25th May 2021, where it was resolved that unutilized vaccines from all districts be withdrawn as an emergency and given to the population most at risk.
Dr. Mwebase also said that some districts mainly in South Western regions have performed very well and have been allocated additional vaccines, while others mainly in the Eastern and Northern regions have performed poorly.
He however revealed that districts that demonstrate commitment to utilize the doses in their facilities with evidence of good progress may be considered to retain some vaccines vials. Others incapable of utilizing the vaccines are advised to return them to the Ministry for distribution to areas of need.
To-date, a total of 4,327 travelers entering the country through Entebbe International airport from Category 1 and 2 countries have undergone mandatory PCR testing for COVID-19. Of these, 50 turned positive and were transferred to the COVID-19 Isolation Units.
The confirmed cases among travellers originated from 8 countries; UAE (16), South Sudan (15), Kenya (06), USA (06), Eritrea (03), Ethiopia (02), South Africa (01) and Netherlands (01).
For more information on how government intends to confront the second wave will be communicated in a joint broadcast by UBC, NBS, BUKEDDE and Urban TV tonight from 7:00PM to 9:00PM.