The Ministry of Health has said it is partnering with medical training institutions and faith-based organisations to conduct Covid-19 testing in schools and handle infected learners.
The initiative comes slightly a week after the government revealed that up to 5,566 out of the 525,605 learners in primary and secondary who were screened after resuming studies had Covid-19 symptoms.
Prof Samuel Majalija, the head of ‘keeping schools open and safe’ Covid-19 volunteer surveillance initiative, told Daily Monitor yesterday that they are training more people for testing.
“We have trained 475 in Kampala, Wakiso, and Mbarara. We plan to train 2,000 volunteers across the country,” Prof Majalija said.
“Our contribution is to train paramedical students, particularly lab and nurses, targeting those finalists who are yet to be deployed but have completed their courses, as a backup force in the response against Covid-19. This will create a pool of trainers and testers of Covid-19 using antigen diagnostic testing kits in the country,” he added.
Prof Majalija said the ministry has also provided kits for cost-free testing in schools for suspected cases.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, said they were working together with the team of volunteers to ensure schools remain open amid the pandemic.
“I appreciate all our partners in the initiative. I pledge to support you to ensure that you perform the noble task of continuous surveillance in order to keep the schools open,” she said.
Dr Aceng called for increased adherence to preventive measures such as handwashing and vaccination.
President UNSA, Welunga Yusuf
“Our role in this campaign is to mobilise the medical-related students; we have done this and we have mobilised students in every region. We don’t want to see schools again closed again.”
Ms Alice Bukenya, leader of Mothers’ union
“Our children should stay in school. We need to provide physical and mental support to counsel our children who are very frustrated during this covid pandemic especially to those who test positive or have mild symptoms.”
Mr Samuel Mulindwa Mukasa, leader of Fathers’ union
“We want the fathers to take the lead; some of our fathers are doctors and so we are coming out to volunteer to ensure the children are managed at schools.”
The joint team of volunteers comprises health teaching institutions led by the School of Biotechnology, Biosecurity and lab sciences at Makerere University, while faith-based organisations include Fathers’ and Mothers’ unions, Moslem Women Vision, Scouts and Guides, St John ambulance, Uganda National Students Association, and Muslims Students Association.
Original story on Monitor