Covid-19 Cases Increase In Schools After Three Weeks Of Reopening, Health Ministry Planning To Vaccinate Learners Below 18 Years
By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: The number of Covid-19 positive cases among learners in various schools across the country has increased, just three weeks after the reopening of all schools.
According to the surveillance report compiled by the Ministry of health and education, the positive cases among students have increased to 7.
The surveillance report that was released last week indicated that the positive cases in schools were 3.
Meanwhile, the ministry said the number of students with symptoms has reduced from over 5,000 cases the ministry reported last week to 56 all affected students are being managed at their respective schools.
In a bid to curb the further spread of the virus, the Ministry of Health is planning to start vaccinating children aged 12 to 17 against COVID-19.
Although the majority of COVID-19 vaccines were initially approved for use in adults aged 18-years and above, an increasing number of vaccines are now also being authorized for use in children. So far, countries have received approval to use Pfizer-BioNTech in children ages 5-15 years old, and full approval to use in people ages 16 years and older
Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng revealed after two years of closure, they don’t plan to send children back home due to infections but use other strategies such as periodic random testing and vaccination to manage the transmission
As of Friday, a voluntary joint task force comprised of parents, students, and scientists formed to ensure quick identification and isolation of cases in schools reported that they had undertaken a pilot study in four schools in Kampala where they picked more than 200 positive cases.
Dr. Haruna Kigongo who heads the task force noted that when they got an alert from one of the schools, they found a sickbay full of children with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Kigongo further revealed that the administration of one of the schools which had over 102 positive cases had turned another room into sickbay to cater for the numbers.
According to Ministry of Health guidelines, schools are supposed to isolate positive cases, enroll them in treatment and release them once they get a negative test. To do this, they rely on school nurses. But generally, these have so far not been specially trained to offer care for this highly infectious disease like it was for other health workers in the country that underwent training at the beginning of the pandemic.
Experts are now calling for a mandatory requirement for schools to have nurses that can easily identify and test COVID-19 if they are to quickly isolate cases. A group of laboratory technologists based at Makerere University have already offered to train school nurses in COVID-19 rapid diagnostic testing and mild case management at no cost.