About a month ago, Uganda’s health officials announced that the country was already in the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic.
This has since been evidenced with high infection rates among children especially students and pupils, which was minimal during the first wave.
The second wave was further confirmed with new variants; including the Indian variant, Ugandan, South African, UK and Nigerian variant strains.
During his last address on 6th June 2021, President Museveni said, the variant strains specifically: the Indian variant (B.1.617), the South African variant (B.1.351) and the UK variant (B.1.1.7), are more aggressive and tend to cause sustained transmission and a shift of the most affected age-groups from older individuals to younger age groups.
On May 27th, 2021, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, Director General Health Services voiced his concerns about the 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; ten Nursing Schools, eleven Secondary schools, seven Primary schools, one PTC, and one tertiary institution. Some Universities have also reported cases and are under investigation,” Mwebesa said.
The main drivers of transmission in schools, he added, are overcrowding, non-adherence to SOPs and inadequate supervision of the learners.
Amidst speculation of a 3rd wave, the management of covid-19 cases in public health facilities is faced with scarcity of medical oxygen due to the spike of active cases on admission.
This has been worsened by the scarcity of covid-19 vaccines, as at least 80% of the vaccines have since been given out.
Despite the situation, measures have been devised to minimize infections and manage covid-19 patients.
The government has restricted passenger flights from India and, maintained that all travelers from USA, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Tanzania will be subjected to a PCR COVID-19 test.
This has also been accompanied by a partial lockdown; with closure of all schools and higher institutions of learning; places of worship and reduced the number of people at ceremonies from 200 to 20.
The MoH has issued out a covid-19 home based care guidance on community prescription; listing recommendation treatment for adults, children above and below 12 years.
It also includes monitoring of the covid-19 cases from home.
Drawing from the epidemic curve, Dr Monica Musenero, senior presidential advisor on epidemics has revealed that Uganda’s cases are increasing very sharply.
Exploring the status and responses to covid-19 in Uganda, she said, “Because we have recognized that this situation is getting out of control as we are reaching the peak of our carrying capacity; mortality is rising, and the spread is quite diffuse.”
However, she added, it’s more intense in the cities especially in Kampala but the reports we have really show some intensive spread in many other parts of the country.
She noted that the measures put in place by the President to limit spread will be reviewed and either up scaled or down scaled depending on the response.
A committee was also put in place to ensure the measures are being monitored to limit community spread. There are limitations on transport; inter district movements were banned, among others.
Although Musenero said measures have under gone technical review and expected to be revised, it’s too early to tell whether the measures are going to have impact on the epidemic curve.