By Mariam Namakula
During his public address on current Covid-19 situation in the country on Thursday May, 27, the director general Health Services, Dr. Henry G. Mwebesa, revealed that there has been a surge in the numbers of Covid-19 cases especially amongst youth people.
According to Mwebase, statistics from the Ministry of Health (MHO) indicated that the number of cases and deaths are increasing and that the most affected age group was 20-39 years of age.
“Data from the previous wave has indicated that every Covid-19 positive person has between the ages of 21-39 contacts and that this could be higher for the current wave,” he said.
He also noted that the intensity of severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients was now higher than what the ministry had experienced in the 1st wave of the pandemic and that unlike the first wave which took approximately four months before it was a fully blown pandemic, the second wave had only taken less than 10 days.
The highest numbers of cases in the last 14 days was from Kampala, Wakiso, Gulu, Amuru, Moroto, Arua, Mbale, Masaka, Oyam and Kalungu districts, Mwebesa said.
He however argued that this could be the same or even worse elsewhere in other districts only that the above mentioned districts have been vigilant in carrying out surveillance testing and reporting.
“There has been a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in schools and as of 18th May 2021, a total of 29 schools from 17 districts, had recorded a total of 803 cases and 01 death,” said Mwebesa.
According to Mwebesa, the affected schools included; 10 Nursing Schools, 11 Secondary schools, 7 Primary schools, 1 PTC and 1 tertiary institution. Some Universities have also reported Covid-19 cases
He attributed the transmission to, overcrowding of the learners, non-adherence to the SOPs and inadequate supervision of learners.
He therefore urged that the school administrators should step up vigilance, identify sick learners/ teachers early, enforce adherence to SOPs and report promptly to the nearest health facility for any suspected cases.
Mwebesa advised Teachers/lecturers who were not yet gone for vaccination to do it as soon as possible.
According to the Health Ministry, scientific evidence from the Centers for Disease Control of the USA, suggested that fully vaccinated people were less likely to be infected without showing symptoms and potentially less likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others.
As such vaccination was viewed as strong tool to prevent and control the pandemic and many countries worldwide are increasing their vaccination coverage.
The Ministry noted a number of districts have not fully utilized the dose of Covid- 19 vaccine that was allocated to them yet the vaccine expiry date 10 July.
Some districts, especially in the South Western region, have performed very well and have been allocated additional vaccines while others, in the East and North of the country, have performed poorly.
The Strategic Committee sitting on the 18th and on 25th May 2021, in consultation with the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Vaccine Advisory Committee, resolved that vaccines be withdrawn from the poorly performing districts to avoid wastage and expiries. The most vulnerable ones would then be considered first.
The exercise was to commence on the 27th May 2021 and Communication sent to the Chief Administrative Officers, Chairpersons LCV’s, Resident District Commissioners and District Health Officers to impend withdrawal and only 1o vials retained for those eligible.
All district leaders were requested to be cooperative and that a region that demonstrated commitment to utilize the doses in their facilities with evidence of good progress was to be considered to retake their vaccines and that there will be penalties for those that waste vaccines or allow vaccines in their possession to expire.