Closing schools will worsen Covid19 infections- Moriku

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The Minister for State in charge of Primary Health Care, Moriku Joyce says they are reporting 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.

West Nile, Elgon, North sub-region remain the main transmission hotspots.

To date, only 9 districts have not reported a case.

In the past one month, they have witnessed patients with severe forms of the disease accompanied with more deaths, as the vulnerable populations like the elderly (above 60) and those diabetes, hypertension etc are more exposed in their communities.

This increasing trend of infections, progression to severe forms of the disease and increased fatalities is worrisome and is severely stretching the health systems.

The strain on the health systems can only be reduced if the population adheres to the SOPs and this will lead to a reduction in the infections.

Since the opening of schools for candidate classes, working with the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Health has unmasked clusters of COVID-19 transmission in 4 different learning institutionsFollowing discussions with the Ministry of Education and Sports, the following has been recommended:

• 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 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.

Therefore, the Ministry of Health does not recommend closure of schools as this will only heighten further community transmission and further create a disruption in the learners’ academic progression.

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