Coronavirus closes Humanist Schools in Uganda

Coronavirus was brought to Uganda a few days ago with passengers alighting from a flight from Dubai. There are now, on 27 May, 18 confirmed cases – all related in some way to the flight arrivals.

Uganda is used to dealing with epidemics. In recent years it has had to cope with outbreaks of HIV/AIDS, Cholera and Ebola. The country has a good health care system with many well-trained professionals, but it is underresourced. Uganda has always been open to the public about new infections and uses radio, TV, social media and national newspapers to encourage appropriate public health responses (such as hand washing shown in the picture from New Vision newspaper). Bobi Wine a musician, politician and campaigner has brought out a coronavirus campaign song, which you can see and hear on this link:

If any country in Africa ia able to minimise the impact then Uganda is the one.

The government has acted quickly, preparing the ground even before the first coronavirus case arrived in Uganda. People were told about the symptoms and about the importance of thorough hand washing and social distancing. Since the virus arrived in Uganda measures have been ramped up. All schools and educational institutions have been closed. Large social gatherings have been banned. Shops and markets have been closed, and public bus and boda-boda (motorbike taxi) services have been shut down. A cordon sanitaire has been thrown around Kampala, with severe restrictions on movement in and out.

Along with other schools, the Humanist Schools have been forced to close. The police visited Mustard Seed School to ensure that students had been sent home. Initial closure is for one month, but experience from other countries suggests the closure will last longer. There has been an immediate hit on school income. With no students in school, no fee income is being paid and yet teachers and other staff still need to be paid. This is a crisis for the schools, which were doing so well. Uganda Humanist Schools Trust has stepped in to help with supplementary grants for Isaac Newton and Mustard Seed Schools and we have sent hardship money to help the teachers at Katumba Parents Humanist Nursery and Primary School. The money we are giving is drawn from funds set aside for important new infrastructure. If it goes on for long, we will be struggling to keep the staff of the schools together. If you would like to help the schools to get through this, then you can make a donation by clicking “Continue reading” in the box below:

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