Stories of the month - August
Five stories that you might have missed
Adolescent girl wishes she could do magic so schools could reopen
Twelve-year-old Alex Abigail from the Democratic Republic of Congo wants to become a doctor. But with the schools still closed in Uganda, Abigail knows this will not happen unless she goes to school.
“We want to be better people. Personally, I want to become a doctor. That is why it is important for me and other children to go to school. We cannot achieve our dreams without going to school. I want to help my parents and guardians who have helped me during my school days. For me to help them, I need to first complete my education,” she explains.
In March 2020, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni ordered the closure of schools to stop the spread of COVID-19. More than 15 million learners were sent home. Read the story
UNICEF helps over 500 people living with HIV and AIDS access their medicines during COVID
When Uganda’s President, H.E. Yoweri Museveni, announced a nationwide lockdown in March 2020, he also banned mass gatherings. This was done to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
To Amati Odraru, prohibiting gatherings meant limiting her monthly visits to the HIV clinic at Yumbe Health Centre IV. Her worry was that if she attended the clinic days, chances were high that many people would come on the same day for treatment and they would be either arrested for violating the presidential directive or contract the Coronavirus disease as there is no social distancing as the clinic is often over crowded.
Due to this misinterpretation, Odraru, a resident of Lukutua village in Yumbe District, West Nile sub-region, and her five-year-old daughter missed their refill for antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs.
Odraru is among the 541 people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHIV) in Yumbe District who missed treatment during the COVID-19 lockdown. The 546 include 56 children, 20 adolescents, 61 mother baby pairs, 26 pregnant mothers and 378 adults. All of these have since been traced and linked back into care, thanks to the efforts of the district authorities. Read the story
When water and good latrines attract girls to school in Karamoja
Loodoi Primary School, located in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, lies along a rocky belt that doesn’t allow sinking of boreholes, making it difficult for the school to get enough water. Despite numerous attempts by district authorities and partners, drilling boreholes was futile. The school operated with insufficient water for years, affecting children’s learning environment. The nearest borehole was about 4 kilometres away on a highway.
With little and sometimes no water at all, pupils, and more often girls, were sent to fetch water for cleaning and cooking at school. Handwashing with soap and water was not considered a priority so the pupils spent the day and ate their food with dirty hands.
Thankfully, in 2019, Loodoi Primary School was selected as one of the beneficiary schools of the UNICEF-supported WASH in schools programme implemented by Cooperation and Development. The programme benefits 88 primary schools and 12 secondary schools and is funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Read the story
Schools may not have female students after lock down due to teenage pregnancies - Kitgum leaders fear
District leaders in Kitgum are worried that by the time schools are allowed to resume in the area, more than half of the female students in the district will either be married off or will be pregnant.
According to June statistics that the district Community Development Office presented in a meeting with UNICEF, 1,519 girls below 19 years visited a hospital for antenatal care since the Coronavirus pandemic forced schools shut in March. Read the story
Celebrating cleaners, the unsung heroes at the COVID-19 frontline - Here is Yusto Katahoire's story
"I am at a very high risk of being infected because I am very close to the patients and I touch everywhere”
Everywhere in the world, people have repeatedly been told to frequently wash hands with soap and running water as well as sanitize and clean surfaces around them to avoid catching COVID-19, among other infections.
In homes, cleaning surfaces has become a routine. In health facilities, the situation is not any different. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces have been heightened to reduce the risk of infection as well as provide health workers and patients with decent and clean places to work and get medical attention. Behind this enhanced hygiene are the cleaners or hygienists, the unsung heroes in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.