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Pictorials: What You Miss from Eden Campsite – Aruu Falls.

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Keeping it social and alive. Revival from Lockdown to Rocked down. Details loading.

Amuru Leaders Demand Mandatory COVID-19 Tests as Cases Soar.

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URN : – Amuru district leaders have asked the government to consider mandatory COVID-19 testing of all area residents following an increase in community infections among residents of Elegu township in Atiak sub county.

The cases are expected to have been people who made contacts with truck drivers that were intercepted from Amuru after crossing into Uganda from South Sudan. According to Atiak sub county chairperson Wilfred Odiya Baguma, the area has been highly infiltrated by people from mainly South Sudan which currently has nearly 1,900 cases of coronavirus disease.

Amuru District Health Officer Patrick Odong Olwedo told URN that samples of 34 people who voluntarily tested for COVID-19 this month alone turned out positive pointing to the possible existence of more cases from within the community. He says that the government needs to take immediate action in the high risks areas of Attiak and Elegu.

Amuru district chairperson Michael Lakony appealed to the government to speed up the process of placing a mobile laboratory for testing for COVID-19 at Elegu town to ease mass testing of community members.

Kilak North Member of Parliament Anthony Akol explained that while the district is focused on fighting transmission from truck drivers, some members of the community are infected and continue to spread the disease because many have abandoned the Ministry of Health guidelines which would help to keep the virus at bay.

However, the State Minister for Primary Health Care Joyce Moriku Kaducu argued that the government cannot carry out mandatory mass testing due to a shortage of testing kits and machines in the country.

She instead appealed to the leaders to sensitize the community to adhere to standard operating procedures and guidelines set by the government to curtail spread of the virus.

Kitgum’s Preparedness to Adapt to the Pandemics

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Oryem Kissinger the author

Businesses in Kitgum Municipal seems back to normal with hundreds of people on the street whole day. Youths playing cards, doing mock fight etc can also be seen even when 1 case of Covid-19 was already identified in Kitgum Municipal.

Kitgum and Kitgum Municipal has a dual edge when it comes to infectious disease outbreaks. Given that we are a border district and a major commerical centre to South Sudan it means the spread and transmission of infectious disease through increased human contact can be high. 

Kitgum Municipal have roughly 48 thousand people living in a highly congested places with concentration of urban poor and deep inequalities among the population e.g places like; West Land, Acut Omee, Ogwal Woo, Ayul A etc. are potentially more vulnerable than those that are better resourced, less crowded, and more inclusive.

Precisely because of this and also the fact that Kitgum is a border district and Kitgum Municipal is a hubs for commerce and mobility, there are numerous factors that could amplify the pandemic risk.

Kitgum District and Kitgum Municipal leadership should also play a central role in preparing for, mitigating and adapting to pandemics. In fact, many of the norms and rules for municipal to manage infectious disease should be effected forthwith as preventive measures alongside the ministry of health guidelines.  

Ultimately, the hardware of pandemic prevention in Kitgum District and Kitgum Municipal should improve through having a dynamic functional surveillance systems, concrete evacuation plan since we have insufficient health care services to ensure effective pandemic response and the major software should be  proper education/sensitization of masses and close collaboration between qualified doctors, nurses and others health workers.

Otherwise, a lack of governance, poor planning and decentralized health care systems can undermine pandemic response which will generate confusion and fear.

Kitgum’s preparedness shall depends on it’s capacity to prevent, detect, respond and transport the patients to regional referral hospital and this means there is need to have action plans, staff and budgets in place for rapid response. 

The ability to communicate and implement emergency response plans is also essential, as is the availability, quality and accessibility of hospitals as per Ministry of Health guidelines.

The lesson from this pandemics are on surveillance ‘s investigative capacities, transportation systems and, importantly, the right kind of leadership in place to rapidly take decisive action.

COVID-19: Separating Fact from Fiction

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MYTH: 

You need a mask to protect you from the new coronavirus. 

FACT:  

Masks are most effective for helping to contain droplets from a sick person.  

If you are healthy, a mask would only strongly benefit you if you are interacting with someone who is suspected to have the coronavirus. A mask does not make a significant protective difference when simply walking around. Masks are ONLY effective when combined with frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer. (Source: World Health Organization and The Guardian

MYTH: 

This is just like the flu! No big deal. 

FACT:  

The new coronavirus is MUCH WORSE than the seasonal flu. It is more contagious and some estimates suggest it is over 10 times more deadly. Unlike the flu, there is not yet a vaccine for the coronavirus. Because it is a new virus, it has the potential to overwhelm the health care system. (Source: Vox Media

MYTH: 

Only Asian or Chinese people can get or die from the virus. It is dangerous to interact with Asian or Chinese people. 

FACT:  

Coronavirus (COVID-19) started in Wuhan, China. That’s just geography. Every single person is at risk of being infected. While everyone should be practicing social distancing and staying 6 feet away from others, there is NO REASON to avoid people with Chinese ancestry or any other ancestry. (Source: DC Government

MYTH:  

The virus can’t be transmitted in really hot weather or really cold weather.  

FACT:  

The coronavirus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, regardless of climate. Hot weather or cool weather doesn’t make a difference; neither do hot baths or hand dryers. (Source: World Health Organization

MYTH: 

If you can comfortably hold your breath for more than 10 seconds, you’re probably not infected. 

FACT: 

While shortness of breath is one of the main symptoms, you cannot self-diagnose by holding your breath. This misinformation was popularized by a viral Facebook post posing as material from Stanford University and further shared by Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera. It also appeared on a “test” distributed by a local property management company. Clinicians are still struggling to understand the virus and it is not helpful to try to test yourself.

Nakasero Hospital’s Telemedicine Webinar Pinks into the Future of Ugandan Healthcare

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Nakasero Hospital hosted a telemedicine webinar to discuss what experts around the world have called the “pandemic benefit.” According to Medscape, “telemedicine involves the diagnosis and treatment of patients through telecommunications technology. It is a subset of telehealth, which includes other types of technology-enabled care, such as promoting health and wellness, remote patient monitoring, provider-to-provider remote communication, and mobile health.”

The Webinar featured some of Nakasero’s finest consultants, including Dr. Robert Busingye, (Obs and Gyn), Dr. Simon Luzige, the Ag. CEO (Physician and Pulmonogist), Dr. Kenneth Luzinda (Physician), Dr. Dickson Tumusiime (Pediatrician and Neonatologist) and Julius Mugisha, the Manager, Marketing, Communications and Client Experience. The webinar was moderated by Dr. Mamello Muhanuuzi, the Ag. Head of Medical Services, Nakasero Hospital.

The idea of telemedicine was founded upon the need to reach patients in remote areas with a few doctors. However, due to the impact of the pandemic on health care systems around the world, telemedicine has gained prominence for it’s potential to be transformative in regards to faster diagnosis and treatment.

In Uganda, interest in the practice of telemedicine is scaling upwards and medical institutions are contemplating ways of incorporating it in their routine.

From a client experience stand point, Mugisha highlighted that the hospital has started rolling out telemedicine and the “the appetite for it is there. However, there is a need for a mindset change from the population on considering phone calls as consultations.”

However, questions of it’s practicality lingered. Dr. Tumusiime assured the virtual audience that it is indeed possible and the tools needed to make it work are fairly available.

“You need to incorporate different forms of media in form of text, video and photos in order to make a better consultation,” Dr. Tumusiime said in regard to improving accuracy of a diagnosis.

On the other hand Dr. Busingye highlighted that while doctors, clinicians and nurses agree that the technology is useful, there is need for regulatory guidance on high risk and low risk usage of the technology.

“It needs to be formalized and the organization should take center stage in enforcing that change,” Dr. Busingye said. “The regulators should take note and regulate telemedicine in a way that spells out the expectations of both the doctor and the patient to avoid possible legal issues. The population should be educated on when to go to telemedicine and when not to.”

Dr. Luzinda agreed that there is a need for formalization and building the infrastructure necessary to effect the practice.

The webinar also hosted, Dr. Katumba Sentongo, the registrar of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council. Sharing from the regulators side, he offered that telemedicine is the future. However, he added that there is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding it and we need to establish clarity around issues like subscriptions.

Furthermore, he suggested that the question of “who is responsible for the diagnosis in telemedicine needs to be addressed.”

To close the discussion, the audience turned their attention to Dr. Davis Musinguzi who many recognize as the pioneer of telemedicine in Uganda. Dr. Musinguzi is the Managing Director of the Medical Concierge Group (TCMG), a digital health company with a portfolio of innovative ventures in medical call centers, healthcare enterprise software, and connected medical devices.

According to Dr. Musinguzi, there are plenty of opportunities to deliver affordable healthcare in telemedicine and it requires a lot of collaboration so we need more players involved.

He warned that, we must stay well within the standards of care in all spheres, from ethics to licenses. Further he shared guidance that the International Standards Organization spells out a list of guidelines that provide a blueprint in how we should implement telemedicine in Uganda.

“We are willing to make a contribution to guidelines,” he said.

For his part, Dr. Luzige highlighted concern over critical issues like privacy, security and hacking.

“There is a huge gap in regard to regulating telemedicine,” he added.

The well reviewed webinar attracted over 70 people from the health and IT community. Dr. Mamello assured the audience that another webinar on the subject will be held soon.

21 Truck Drivers Given Red Card “NO ENTRY” as 15 Ugandans Test Positive for COVID-19. Majority in Elegu!

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Dr Jane Ruth Aceng I Courtesy Photo

“Ten of the reported 15 cases are Ugandan truck drivers who entered the country through the Elegu point of entry in Northern Uganda while five others were from the community”

Fifteen (15) new cases of Coronavirus disease have been recorded in the country, bringing Uganda’s count to 160 nationals.

The new cases were part of the 2,729 samples that were tested for COVID-19 from the border points by the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

Ten of the reported 15 cases are Ugandan truck drivers who entered the country through the Elegu point of entry in Northern Uganda while five others were from the community.

According to the Ministry of Health, all the community cases were contacts of positive cases, mostly truck drivers. They had been quarantined earlier.

“Today (Thursday), 21 May, 2020, 15 new COVID-19 cases confirmed bringing the total confirmed cases to 160. All new cases are Ugandans: 10 cases are truck drivers who arrived via Elegu while 5 cases are among community samples. All community cases were under quarantine at the time of test,” The Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng tweeted. 

The government also blocked the entry of 21 truck drivers who tested positive at different points of entry. This brings the number of drivers handed over since the week begun to 145. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health says that the drivers are being handed over in line with a presidential directive.

“The president made a directive that only truck drivers who test negative would enter the country.  Drivers who test positive are handed over to their country of origin for treatment,” Dr Aceng said.

The president’s directive to only allow negative truck drivers was this morning followed with a reduction in COVID-19 cases. Earlier today, Uganda revised its cases from 274 confirmed cases to 145, after dropping all foreign cases from its records. #KP

UNICEF and Airtel Africa Team up to Support Children and Families Affected by COVID-19

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Photo @UNICEF/UNI316644/Frank Dejongh

As millions of children are affected by school closures due to COVID-19, Airtel Africa will help provide access to online learning and better enable cash transfers for children and their families in sub-Saharan Africa

UNICEF announced a new partnership with Airtel Africa aimed at providing children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers. Under this partnership, UNICEF and Airtel Africa will use mobile technology to benefit an estimated 133 million school age children currently affected by school closures in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The adverse effects of school closures on children’s learning are well documented.  Education experts warn that gains made in increasing access to learning in the previous decade are at risk of being lost, or even reversed completely. And for poor households around the world, the pandemic means a reduced or total loss of income due to the movement restrictions in place. Remote learning, supported by digital tools, is a core part of UNICEF’s response to ensure continuity of learning for those children with access to technology at home. Airtel Africa will zero-rate select websites hosting educational content, which will provide children with remote access to digital content at no cost.

“COVID-19 is affecting access to information and education at an unprecedented scale,” said Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Field Results and Innovation. “Worldwide, most children are not in school, which we know can lead to a number of increased vulnerabilities and setbacks. UNICEF is partnering with Airtel Africa to deliver better outcomes for children and families affected by widespread closures.”

The partnership will also provide UNICEF with a means to facilitate vital cash assistance to alleviate financial barriers for some of the most vulnerable families across the region, including many affected by the growing socio-economic hardships resulting from suspension of income earning activities. This will help ensure families have additional resources to cope with the ongoing health and economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some effective ways to cushion families from the effects of this crisis is through providing free Internet access to selected educational websites to help children keep up with their learning during the school closures and direct cash transfer programmes to reduce physical presence requirements for cash in hand exchanges,” said Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer. “Alongside various other COVID-19 related initiatives and support that we are providing to Governments and the community, we are glad to also collaborate with UNICEF to support children.”

The partnership with Airtel Africa supports UNICEF’s Global Action for Children Global Agenda for Action for Children. The plan outlines global actions which private and public sector partners can take to keep millions of girls and boys – including those who have been uprooted by conflict, children living with disabilities, and girls at risk of violence – healthy, safe and learning. 

UNICEF and Airtel Africa’s partnership aims to benefit children and families in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Coronavirus – Uganda: Denmark Supports Uganda’s COVID-19 Response with Two Million Dollars.

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As of today, Uganda has 81 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 52 patients have recovered, and no death

The Government of Denmark has signed a grant worth Two (2) Million Dollars to support the COVID-19 response in Uganda. The grant is to be channeled through the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and will go towards the procurement of lifesaving commodities such as masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for health workers.

The grant will also support the improvement of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services in selected districts.

At the signing ceremony, the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, His Excellency Nicolaj Petersen extended his government’s appreciation to the Government of Uganda for implementing strategic and effective measures to curb and manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Uganda has managed to control the spread of the Coronavirus so far. Only 81 cases have been confirmed, most of which were detected at entry”, he said.

However, despite the modest success so far, Ambassador Nicolaj noted that more still has to be done to make sure that the virus is contained. “This grant, therefore, will further support the Government of Uganda’s agenda to combat COVID-19,” he said.

Ambassador Nicolaj appreciated the tremendous work done by WHO and UNFPA in Uganda’s health sector despite the infrastructural and social challenges the country faces.

“I am very pleased to partner with you to support WHO’s efforts and your close working relationship with the Ministry of Health. He, therefore, hoped that the grant will provide the urgently needed commodities such as oxygen masks and PPEs.

The WHO Representative in Uganda, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, noted that the grant is an important milestone especially in areas that need increased technical support.

According to Dr Yonas, these areas include the coordination of COVID 19 response, the application of technical standards and best practices focusing on case management, infection prevention and control, laboratory, risk communication and psychosocial support.

These are very critical areas of support and they are in line with the WHO strategy as well as the Government of Uganda COVID-19 Preparedness and Response plans.

At the same time, Dr Yonas cautioned that while Uganda has made great strides in responding to the pandemic, this does not mean that the outbreak is over.

“There is still a need to respond to the pandemic as if it is just starting. The continued presence of COVID outbreaks globally and within neighbouring countries is just an indication that we need to do more,” he added.

Luckily for Uganda, the disease surveillance, early warning and response systems are in place and functional. WHO and other partners are supporting the Ministry to ensure that lifesaving commodities and patient care facilities for COVID 19 response are available at national and sub-national levels.

The UNFPA Representative in Uganda, Mr Alain Sibenaler reiterated UNFPA’s readiness to partner with the Government of Uganda to coordinate and deliver Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services especially during the on-going COVID-19 outbreak.

“We shall continue to provide critical support towards SRH services, and with support from Denmark, this can be done in a safer and more protective way,” he said. The COVID-19 grant was given by the Government of Denmark on the backdrop of continued support to Uganda’s health sector that spans over three decades particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS.

As of today, Uganda has 81 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 52 patients have recovered, and no deaths. Most of the confirmed cases include Ugandans returning from foreign travels, foreigners and truck drivers from neighbouring countries.

President Museveni’s 11 Critical Guide to Ease COVID-19 Lockdown Summarized. Only Effective after 14 days.

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President-Museveni

President Museveni, in his address to the nation had laid down a number of guidelines that the public will have to follow to ensure the lockdown is lifted.

He insists this will only be effective in the next 14 days when government has given out free face mask to all Ugandans ranging from 6 years and above.

“The mast will be used alongside the other guidelines but for now he said,

1. Shops selling general merchandize will open provided they are not in the shopping malls, shopping arcades and food markets.

2. The heroic market women that have slept in the work places for all these days, will be allowed to go home and come back to work daily if they want to.

3. Boda bodas won’t carry passengers yet. They should continue to carry cargo as they have been doing during the time of the lock-down.

4. Public transport will resume but with strict regulations. Mini-buses, buses, taxis, tuku-tukus can operate provided they carry only a half of their normal capacity. Public transport won’t operate in border districts for another 21 days.

5. Bars, night-clubs, gyms, saunas, swimming pools and hair-salons, will stay closed for another 21 days since they cannot easily observe the rules of social distancing

6. The International borders of Uganda and the airport will remain closed so that we do not import additional cases from outside.

7. Education institutions to open for finalized to be able to continue with thei education but only finalist’s /candidate classes. He ruled out the possibility of seating for first term exams

8. Curfew from 1900hours (Saa moja ya usiku) until 0630 hours (Saa kuminambiri na nusu za usiku), remains in place for another 21 days.

9. Food restaurants can open as long as the clients observe social-distancing and there is no air-conditioning which spreads the virus.

10. People with private cars will be allowed to drive as long as the car does not carry more than 3 people, including the driver.

11. All the other restrictions will remain in place for 21 days.

63 Recoveries, 248 Cases of COVID-19 Registered in Uganda.

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KAMPALA, Uganda, May 18, 2020/ — The Ministry of Health confirms twenty one (21) new COVID-19 positive cases from 1,071 samples that were tested from various Points of Entry on 17th May 2020. The 21 confirmed cases are Ugandan nationals; 17 from Elegu Point of Entry, 3 from Mutukula Point of Entry and 1 from Malaba Point of Entry. All 253 community samples tested negative for COVID-19. The total number of tests done were 1,324. The total number of COVID-19 confirmed cases is now 248.

In the same vein, the Ministry of Health has noted fake results were being communicated by malicious persons via a fake Ministry of Health social media page stating the ‘105 truck drivers have tested positive’. The Ministry would like to inform the general public that COVID-19 results were not released yesterday, 17 May 2020.

Following the Presidential directive of allowing only truck drivers who test negative for COVID-19 into the country, samples from truck drivers had to be sorted appropriately and divided between Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) by the laboratory teams for quick turnaround time. Testing at NHLS started at 7:30pm yesterday evening hence the delay in reporting results.

Additionally, all truck drivers must undergo COVID-19 testing and receive results before proceeding to immigration at the borders. Foreign truck drivers who test positive for COVID-19 are advised to return to their place of origin for treatment while Ugandan truck drivers will be admitted at the various hospitals for treatment.

Please disregard any fake posts circulating on social media and always verify with the Ministry of Health before re-circulating.

Currently, there are 57 admitted COVID-19 confirmed cases and all are in stable condition.

So far, Uganda has registered a total of 63 COVID-19 recoveries