Century bottling company boss asks industrial workers to got for immunisation

By Moses Kidandi

Industrial workers are being asked to scale up the need to be immunized against COVID-19 as more strains are reportedly threatening a sharp rise in infection.

Speaking after a series of the vaccination exercises of factory workers at century bottling company, Simon Kaheru the Public Affairs and communications Director of Coca Cola Beverages Africa said that immunizing Industrial workers is important since they produce products that go into communities.

Ministry of health asked to intensify COVAX sensitization

By Phiona Namutebi

The Ministry of Health has been asked to intensify COVID-19 vaccination sensitization among the selected groups in order to improve response.

At a press conference, Olivia Kituyi the Councillor for Older Persons Kampala Central Division said that some of the older persons deep down in villages have no idea about the vaccination exercise that’s why there is low turn up.

Kituyi noted that, as leaders for older persons, they have tried their best to sensitize the elderly but there is a gap that has to be filled by Ministry of Health because they older people trust it more than their leaders.

Kituyi also added that even the little who know about it are scared of getting vaccinated because of the false information they get from rumors about the COVID-19 vaccine therefore this calls for more attention to teach the older persons on how good the vaccine is good for their lives.

Kituyi also sighted scarcity of Geriatricians (health specialists for older persons) as the major cause of the poor health status for older persons in Uganda.

She said that health specialists for the elderly are few in the country yet the elderly are many that is why they fail to address them which hinders appropriate medication.

Even the few geriatricians who exist are so expensive making it hard for the elderly to access them and they end up living a sickly life.

Teachers ask that their money be reverted back to Micro finance support center

By Alice Lubwama

Uganda Private teachers union has petitioned parliament seeking for intervention into the UGX 20 billion that was pledged by government for teachers to see that they get it.

In their petition presented to speaker Kadaga by the general secretary Juma Mwamula they say the money has been transferred from the Microfinance support center to the ministry of education which has come up with stringent requirements like having a teacher registration status before they can receive the money.

Mwamula now wants the money to be reverted back to microfinance support center to enable every teacher in need benefit from it and wants Parliament to help them establish whether this money still exists saying that even though the schools partially opened many teachers are living in deplorable conditions.

They also want the teachers included among the beneficiaries of emyooga saying that they were excluded from groups of professionals who were to benefit from the program in October under unclear circumstances.

The Speaker of parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga in response promised to follow up on the matter.

During the COVID-19 lock down the president promised 20 billion shillings to be put in teachers SACCOs to help them start up small income generating projects as they had been closed down for long period of time.

COVID-19 Vaccination commences 10th March

By Phiona Namutebi

The Ministry of Health through Uganda National Expanded Program on Immunization (UNEPI) has launched the COVID-19 vaccination dubbed National COVID Vaccine Development ahead of the vaccination program slated for tomorrow.

M.O.H is expected to vaccinate 49.6% of the Ugandans starting with health workers and security officers in a campaign that will last 10 days and later the elderly persons and teachers will be immunized too.

Addressing media, Dr.Driwale Alfred the Programs Manager UNEPI said that about 150,000 health workers, 250,000 security officers,550,000 teachers and lecturers, 3,800,000 vulnerable people including 3,300,000 are elderly persons and 500,000 young ones between 18 and 50 years are to be vaccinated for free.

He adds that the intention of carrying out this vaccination exercise is to prevent severe death and spread of the pandemic and to also reduce congestion in health centers by the COVID-19 patients .

On the same occasion,Dr.Alfred asked local leaders to continue sensitizing citizens on the importance of getting vaccinated so that health workers don’t find hard time while carrying out the vaccination exercise.

Due to the fact that the exercise process will be district led,local leaders should ensure that citizens a well convinced to avoid disorganization.

Schools for non candidate classes to open soon

By Moses Kidandi

Cabinet has resolved to reopen Education Institutions to Non-Candidate learners as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The cabinet has made some recommendations to this effect as a means of curbing the transmission of the virus.

That the Education Institutions will be allowed to open for non-candidate classes in a phased manner. This will ensure compliance with COVID 19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

That the pre-primary schools should will not be re-opened because Learners in this category cannot observe the SOPs and are prone to respiratory infections including COVID-19. In addition, most of the pre-primary schools are day schools hence prone to infections due to interface between the Learners, teachers and Parents.

Leaders at the Ministry of Education and Sports; and Health will undertake a countrywide tour of schools and Institutions to ascertain their preparedness to reopen for non-candidate classes.

In order to complete the academic year and ensure progression, the semi-candidate classes (P6, S3 and S5) should report back to school in the short term and study (in shifts where necessary) with the Candidate classes.

Given that PLE will be completed on 31st March, 2021 and UCE on 6th April, 2021, there will be more space in schools, when candidates leave, to enable the other classes report back and study to complement home schooling.

For the classes studying in shifts, Teachers will be guided to work through the home-schooling materials with a view of explaining and clarifying concepts and correcting self-study work done by Learners at home.

Promotion to the next class will be based on attendance and continuous assessment of class work and assignments.

ISER asks government to refocus on fight against COVID-19

By Deo Wasswa

Non-governmental organisation named Initiative for social and economic rights is asking the government to re-focus on the fight against the spread of COVID-19 since elections will be ending soon.

While addressing journalists the organization said, since the campaign started in November, Ugandans are confused about the fight against COVID-19.

They say that the national task force on COVID- 19 used to give updates to the nation stopped three months back.

Allan Kembabazi, programs manager at ISER remarked during the launch of the twelve questions to the government in regard to COVID-19 vaccine.

Among the questions were, what is the government’s progress to have vaccines in the country? Will the vaccine work here? What is the country’s COVID-19 vaccine plan? How much will people be paying for each dose? What is the plan to get the country sufficient? The plan for vaccine distribution among others.

The organisation also wants to know the which category will be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is obtained.

Human rights Initiative urges government to provide lawyers for offenders

By Deo Wasswa

Human rights defenders have asked parliament to enact a law which compels the government to provide a state paid lawyer to all offenders facing various criminal charges.

According to Executive Director of the foundation for Human Rights Initiative,Dr. Livingstone Sewanyana, Currently the constitution only allows offenders facing capital offences such as murder, aggravated defilement to access state paid lawyers to defend him in the court.

He said this during releasing of a report entitled, Let my people go: Rights to liberty and security of person during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Uganda.

The report indicates that 72.5% of the inmates who were arrested during the COVID-19 Pandemic were detained beyond the 48 hours rule because they were poor to access personal lawyers.

The report further revealed that the people who were arrested for flouting COVID-19 guidelines and directives paid between 50,000 shillings and above to access a police bond.

Other findings included the overwhelming prison population from 56,424 by the end of 2019 to 61,533 by 31st August 2020 and this was attributed to closure of courts and judicial officers’ unwillingness to grant bail.

During the study , prisons in the districts of Busia, Tororo, Sironko, Mbale, Pader, Kitugum, Gulu and Nwoya were inspected to assess the adherence of the right to liberty with regard to respect of the 48 hour rule.

Nigerian singer sent to jail

By Sania Babirye

Nigerian singer Stanley Omah Didia has been remanded to Kitalya on charges of doing a negligent act likely to spread infection of disease- Corona Virus disease. He was jointly charged with Temilade Openyi a female singer, their manager Muliwa Awoniyi who are all residents of Lagos in Nigeria, concert organizers Ivan Ddungu, Kisakye Phillip, Benjamin Kabuura and Salima Kim before Makindye court and denied the charge.

Prosecution alleges that the seven held .a music concert in Kampala over the weekend flouting Ministry of Health guidelines on the spread of COVID-19 disease

More than 200 revelers turned up for the concert without observing the Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs that were set by the Ministry of Health to control the spread of COVID-19

All the seven suspects have however denied one count of doing a neglect act likely to cause the spread of a disease contrary to section 171 of the penal code Act which prosecution’s Getrude Apiyo says eas committed

The Lagos residents and their Ugandan hosts committed the alleged offence on Saturday 12th/December 2020 at Ddungu Resort in Mulungu in Munyonyo Makindye division.

The suspects made an attempt to apply for their release on bail but presiding grade one magistrate Jude Okumu thought it important to first give the state attorney time to study their sureties’ documents.

They will appear again in court on the 16th/December 2020 .

Video excerpts of this concert were posted on social media something that stirred anger among Ugandan artists who were barred from holding musical since March due to COVID-19 prompting police to swing in action.

Italina company donates respirators to UPDF to fight COVID-19

By Sania Babirye

Treatment of COVID-19 patients has been boosted after an Italian company donated respirators to the UPDF to fight the pandemic.

The Chief of Defence Forces General David Muhoozi received two portable respirators for the treatment of COVID-19 at Bombo Military Hospital and State House Military Hospital.

The machines were donated by Leonardo Company through the Italian Embassy in Uganda.

The Italian Ambassador Massimiliano Mazzarati lauded the selfless service the UPDF soldiers have offered within Uganda and the peacekeeping efforts within the region.

He cited the AMISOM peacekeeping mission in Somalia where the UPDF has been pivotal in restoring peace in the once ravaged country in the horn of Africa. Somalia has been at war with militants including the notorious Al-shabaab.

“We thought of something more concrete to cement our friendship with the UPDF and the best way to express this appreciation is in terms of donating these two respirators especially during these times of COVID-19” said Ambassador Mazzarati.

In his remarks the CDF thanked the Italian ambassador Mazzarati for having chosen to support UPDF in the fight against COVID-19, with the respirators that are one of a kind in Uganda.

He expressed appreciation to Leonardo Company for maintaining their longstanding relationship with UPDF.

The ceremony was held at the ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya, a suburb of Kampala and was attended by Senior military commanders of the UPDF Marines, the Air Force , a delegation from the Italian embassy and Leonardo company.

German government donates two ventilator machines to Uganda

By Gloria Nakiyimba

The German government through Malteser International a worldwide relief agency has donated two ventilator machines worth more than 300 million shillings to boost Uganda’s fight against COVID-19.

One ventilator has been handed over by the German Ambassador to Uganda Mathius Schauer to Dr. Andrew Ssekitooleko the Executive director for Lubaga hospital.

A second ventilator has been given to Mulago hospital which was represented by Dr. Annet Alenyo at a function that was held at Lubaga hospital on Monday.

Dr. Ssekitooleko says the ventilator will improve the hospital’s capacity in treating COVID-19 patients in severe condition.

“The challenge for us arose when some patients presented with severe symptoms. Some of them needed ventilators or some sort of high level support. And yet we could not admit them to our ICU, because when we do that we’d close our ICU. So we reached out to our partners Malteser who came back to us with the positive news of a donation of a ventilator” said Dr.Ssekitooleko.

German Ambassador H.E Shauer says the ventilators will strengthen the hospital’s role as one the cornerstones in Uganda’s COVID response team.

“Malteser has trained staff on how to effectively contain the virus, and has helped implement the screening and sorting system which is essential to prevent hospital infection among risk groups and staff” said ambassador Shauer.

According to Dr. Ssekitooleko, the other challenge was in-transfer of patients, where the patients needed to be transferred to Mulago and other government designated isolation centres but lacked ventilators for the ambulance.

Malteser International in the past donated Personal Protection Equipment-PPE to Lubaga hospital and helped to set up a COVID-19 unit in the hospital which Dr. Ssekitooleko says has gone a long way in containing the disease.

The ventilator will also be used to support the training of emergency care and staff too.

“Our hospital is a training center for EMS so this ventilator is given to support our training program” he said.

Seven months ago Uganda registered the first COVID-19 first case, and today the number of confirmed cases in the country has since passed the mark of 10,000.