We want to give you an update on the struggle with the pandemic in Uganda. Fortunately, Uganda has been able to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus quite well, and to date there have been only ~40,000 infections among the 45,000,000 citizens of the country and less than 350 deaths. Hospitals have been able to treat patients without overload. Lockdown restrictions on transportation and schools and businesses have been eased. On March 9th, vaccinations began first with 1,000,000 doses obtained from the global COVAX organization, with 18,000,000 more doses promised in the coming months. The government has plans to purchase additional doses from the Serum Institute of India, although exports of vaccines from India have been delayed due to a serious surge of cases in India. The challenge for full vaccination in Uganda is that vaccines are available for those over the age of 16, according to world-wide clinical trial testing. However, the median age in Uganda is 15, so this means that nearly 50% of its citizens are not eligible for vaccination, until further clinical trials demonstrate safety and efficacy for those under the age of 16.
Secondary schools reopened for candidate classes last October (those students who are ready for national examination to pass on to the next level). For the present term, some students below the candidate classes were also allowed to return and over the course of the next few months, the remaining classes will return to campus in a staggered protocol. Full enrollment is expected by the Fall session 2021. It should be noted that return to school is perilous for these students since most of the secondary schools are boarding schools. The challenge to keep students safe in crowded dormitories is obvious. But the Head Teachers are closely monitoring the students’ safety using temperature checks, hand-washing stations and enforcing the requirement for masks.