Uganda reopens medical schools in efforts to boost COVID-19 fight

A student is seen in the laboratory at a medical school in Kampala, Uganda, Aug. 13, 2021 (Photo by Nicholas Kajoba/Xinhua)

KAMPALA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) — Medical schools in Uganda on Friday reopened as a measure to boost the country’s health personnel involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministry of education and sports directed that the health training institutions be reopened after all schools and universities were on June 18 closed following an upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

While reopening the country after a 42-day lockdown on July 30, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni said the health training institutions should reopen in a staggered manner, “with senior classes for each program allowing 33 percent of student population at the campus at any time.”

The institutions were also directed by the government that the students follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) aimed at preventing the spread of the pandemic.

Daphine Kagezi, a tutor at Kabale School of Comprehensive Nursing in south-western Uganda, told Xinhua by telephone that out of the 900 students at the institution, only 360 had been allowed to return for now.

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“We have only allowed the finalist students to come back,” she said.

Kagezi added that the school will divide the students into various stream to avoid congestion and also make them study in shifts.

“We have told the students to come with two litres of sanitizer and enough masks. We shall also test each and everyone for COVID-19 and then vaccinate them,” she added.

The Principal of Uganda Institute of Allied Health and Management Sciences, Rose Nassali, said so far finalists and second-year students had reported as per the government directive.

“We have put everything in place to ensure observance of SOPs. In classes, we make sure the desks are spaced and all students must wear masks,” she said.

Other schools and learning institutions remain closed together with places of worship. Public gatherings and places of entertainment also remain closed.

Uganda has so far registered 96,497 COVID-19 infections, with 94,039 recoveries and 2,856 deaths since March last year, according to ministry of health figures issued on Aug. 11.

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