The re-opening of health training institutions has been characterized by low student turn up.
The students were supposed to return to school yesterday after more than two months of being at home following the government’s move to institute a 54-day lockdown due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, especially in schools.
However, as the first set of education institutes re-opened, few students showed up. We visited a number of health teaching institutions and found that at many less than a quarter of the students had re-opened.
In Kampala, teaching institutions such as Kibuli and St Micheal Lubaga Hospital Training Schools had not received any single student by late afternoon. At Kibuli 183 students are expected to report. However, by 3:30 pm, none had shown up.
Fatumah Nakigudde, a tutor at Kibuli, says the absence of students today was surprising given the fact that the students only have three weeks in their academic calendar before they sit for final examinations.
“We expected them to return as early as possible since they have a lot to cover in this short period of three weeks but no one has turned up. The students had finished all the scheduled clinical trials but still have some theoretical concepts to complete the syllabus,” she said.
Makerere University also registered a low turn up of medical students. Ignatius Asasira, the president of medical students at Makerere college of health sciences says the clinical year has over 600 students but only less than 100 have so far reported.
Soroti School of Comprehensive Nursing only received five students by 12:00 pm. The school expects more than 200 students.
The five students had been assigned to start cleaning their dormitories that have been under use by COVID-19 patients from Soroti Regional Referral Hospital. The Principal, Helen Grace Aguti was in her office but declined to speak to our reporter saying she is preparing a handover report.
The situation was the same Virika Nursing School in Fort Portal. No student turned up and the principal of the institution, Sister Agnes Nansamba attributed this to the pending weekend. At Kalungi Nursing school in Kalungu, the turn up was also low since out of the 104 students that are expected to turn up about 40 students had turned up by press time.
Dr. Kizza Kagolo the director of Kalungi nursing school, says that they have put in place the requirements to fulfill sops as they receive students following the opening up of the semester.
The story was not different at Rakai community school of nursing where about 30 students had turned up by Friday evening. Julius Mujumbi, a tutor at Rakai nursing school says that they are still waiting for students. He however notes that they expect that more students will be showing up on Sunday.
The Principal Mbale School of Nursing and Midwifery Mathew Okuda Okello says although students are yet to report as expected, the school management and staff are using this period to ensure that all requirements including equipment that will help them to enforce SOPs are in place.
As students return, some will be going for clinical trials while others will be headed for theoretical lectures depending on their school academic planner. However, after some time most of them will have to sit their final examinations.