14.2 C
London
Sunday, September 19, 2021

Rwanda’s response to COVID-19 brings out the need to prepare and learn from practice

Wash your hands, wear your face mask and practice physical distancing. These COVID-19 safety measures by the World Health Organization (WHO) will probably go down in the World’s history as the most repeated and translated words of the year 2020.  Since December 2019, COVID-19 has imposed itself onto the World forcing everyone to rethink the…
More

    Latest Posts

    The world’s cheapest 8K monitor could change the way we work in 2022

    Home News Computing (Image credit: LG) Earlier this year, the NANO956NA, a 55-inch 8K TV set produced by Korean chaebol LG, saw its price slashed to £679 in the UK (that’s about US$940 or AU$1282). It was already, by far, the cheapest 8K display (television or monitor) available anywhere in the world but that discount -…

    FBI warns hackers could be exploiting critical Zoho bug

    Home News Computing (Image credit: Shutterstock) In a new joint security advisory, the FBI, CISA and the Coast Guard Cyber Command (CGCYBER) are warning enterprise organizations that state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) groups are actively exploiting a critical flaw in software from Zoho.The vulnerability itself, tracked as CVE-2021-40539, was discovered in Zoho's ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus…

    Apple and Google reportedly remove opposition election app from Russian app stores

    Home News Mobile Phones (Image credit: iStock/Nikada) Apple and Google have reportedly pulled a vote-assisting smartphone app from Russian app stores ahead of the country’s parliamentary election, according to Reuters. The ‘Smart Voting’ app was created by supporters of Alexei Navalny, imprisoned critic of the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin. Those supporters intended to use…

    Millions of websites are about to get a significant speed boost

    Home News Computing (Image credit: Shutterstock) As part of its Speed Week 2021 event, Cloudflare has announced that it is the first CDN provider to implement server support at scale for a new internet standard called Early Hints.Early Hints can help speed up websites on the company's network by 30 percent or more for free…

    When Community Engagement Restored Trust and Raised Public Index of Suspicion for COVID-19

    Kampala, 4 September 2020:- When the World Health Organization (WHO), declared the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic, on 11th March 2020, many Ugandans didn’t take it seriously with many saying it was a disease for the affluent, the very high class or for developed countries.

    As the disease ravaged the entire world, Ugandans were awakened when the first COVID-19 case in Uganda was confirmed on 24th March 2020. The country was locked down, fear and anxiety set in. Many people practised the prevention and control guidelines announced by the Ministry of Health and abided by the Presidential directives. 

    As the number of cases increased, many deaths were expected across the country. It didn’t happen and patients most without any known COVID-19 symptoms were discharged from the various hospitals. This diminished the fear and anxiety leading to complacency across communities.

    This was the trend of events even in Kagadi District, a rural district of 430,200 people located in southwestern Uganda. People went about their business, oblivious of what was happening elsewhere until 15th July 2020, when a COVID-19 case was detected and confirmed within their midst in Kitoro village in Kitego Parish, Kagadi Town Council.


    The confirmed person was a newly recruited foreman working for a road construction company, who travelled from Jinja City in the East and got a job in this company. That was on 15th July 2020 and as the news spread in the district, people once again paid attention mainly out of fear.   

    The positive person had been around for two (2) weeks and was staying with 24 other casual labourers. They were now contacts and put under quarantine and followed up by contact tracers. Even people who patronize the nearby shops, bars and pork joints were in the same category – close contacts. 

    But as it normally happens, there was a lot of denial with many close contacts denying ever associating with the positive person. Most of his friends especially housemates and other close associates in the three villages disappeared out of fear and uncertainty which complicated the work of responders and district health authorities.

    It was then time for WHO Risk Communication team to get to work. Together with the district health authorities, they engaged community members and individuals in the hotspot villages on COVID-19 emphasizing the consequences if it spreads further due to people’s negative behaviours. They explained the urgency of identifying and listing all contacts to the confirmed person and why they should be in institutional quarantine.  

    The interactions and community dialogues were many and sustained often ending late in the evenings. It was also a race against time because health workers feared an explosion of cases as there were many close contacts to the confirmed person. The efforts eventually paid off and people voluntarily came out reporting to health authorities and demanding to be quarantined and tested for COVID-19.  

    In one of the dialogues at Mutunda village, one old woman said in the local dialect, “Tubamanyire kyonka abanyoro bagira, kitandugaho” literally meaning 

    “We know his close associates including his girlfriends, but the Banyoro have an adage that, “I shouldn’t be the source of information implicating others.”

    Others chorused that: “Bagende babakebere bataita ekyaro kyona” meaning “they must go and be tested; lest they spread the virus to the entire village.”

    Such was the effectiveness of community engagements that community members took it upon themselves to mobilize all suspected contacts to report to the district health authorities for testing and possible quarantining if they met the criteria.

    These community engagements have made the work of contact tracers and surveillance teams much easier especially after sharing the global morbidity and deaths due to COVID. People woke up to the reality that their community of not more than 500 people could easily be wiped out if they remained complacent.

    Presently, all the people who had disappeared from the three hot-spot villages out of fear of the unknown are self-reporting often calling the district health office daily to pick their samples for testing.  At the time of writing, 71 high-risk contacts had self-reported saving contact tracers the hustle of hunting for them. 

    “Doctors, thank you for this important education on coronavirus, all the people we know must come for testing or else they will be banished from this village because now we know the facts and we believe you,” said an old man who had listened attentively to the dialogues as he leisurely sipped on a bottle of local beer.

    The District Health office together with the WHO Surveillance Consultant for Bunyoro Sub-Region are now overwhelmed by the phone calls from the high-risk contacts who are seeking COVID-19 information and services.  

    “I have never experienced such a response from suspected high-risk contacts who look for contact tracers to be listed, tested or quarantined in my entire career as an Epidemiologist,” noted Dr. Simon Byaruhanga the WHO Surveillance Consultant. “This approach should become a model and should be replicated elsewhere in the country”, he added as his colleague Mr. Thembo Selevano the District Surveillance Officer nodded in agreement. 

    Latest Posts

    The world’s cheapest 8K monitor could change the way we work in 2022

    Home News Computing (Image credit: LG) Earlier this year, the NANO956NA, a 55-inch 8K TV set produced by Korean chaebol LG, saw its price slashed to £679 in the UK (that’s about US$940 or AU$1282). It was already, by far, the cheapest 8K display (television or monitor) available anywhere in the world but that discount -…

    FBI warns hackers could be exploiting critical Zoho bug

    Home News Computing (Image credit: Shutterstock) In a new joint security advisory, the FBI, CISA and the Coast Guard Cyber Command (CGCYBER) are warning enterprise organizations that state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) groups are actively exploiting a critical flaw in software from Zoho.The vulnerability itself, tracked as CVE-2021-40539, was discovered in Zoho's ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus…

    Apple and Google reportedly remove opposition election app from Russian app stores

    Home News Mobile Phones (Image credit: iStock/Nikada) Apple and Google have reportedly pulled a vote-assisting smartphone app from Russian app stores ahead of the country’s parliamentary election, according to Reuters. The ‘Smart Voting’ app was created by supporters of Alexei Navalny, imprisoned critic of the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin. Those supporters intended to use…

    Millions of websites are about to get a significant speed boost

    Home News Computing (Image credit: Shutterstock) As part of its Speed Week 2021 event, Cloudflare has announced that it is the first CDN provider to implement server support at scale for a new internet standard called Early Hints.Early Hints can help speed up websites on the company's network by 30 percent or more for free…

    Don't Miss

    Guinea declares end of Marburg virus disease outbreak

    Brazzaville/Conakry – Guinea today declared the end of the Marburg virus disease outbreak having recorded no new cases over the past 42 days—two incubation periods, or the time between infection and the onset of symptoms. The virus was confirmed on 9 August, marking the first time the disease emerged in the country and in West Africa.…

    Liberia Launches Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance Survey (IBBSS) Report

    Monrovia, September 2021 – The report of the second assessment of the prevalence and distribution of HIV, Syphilis and Viral Hepatitis among key and vulnerable populations in Liberia was launched on Friday, September 10, 2021 in Monrovia.  The observational cross-sectional study, conducted in 10 of the 15 counties in Liberia, used mixed methods sampling methodology,…

    Africa faces 470 million COVID-19 vaccine shortfall in 2021

    Brazzaville – As the COVAX Facility is forced to slash planned COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Africa by around 150 million this year, the continent faces almost 500 million doses short of the global year-end target of fully vaccinating 40% of its population. This shortfall comes as Africa tops 8 million COVID-19 cases this week.   …

    Ryder to build logistics network with autonomous trucking company Embark

    Supply chain and fleet management solutions company Ryder is partnering with yet another autonomous trucking company. On Thursday, Ryder announced its plans to help Embark launch a nationwide network of up to 100 transfer points that will be owned and operated by the autonomous trucking developer.  This is Ryder’s third public partnership with autonomous trucking…

    In internal memo, Apple says it is monitoring legal challenges to Texas abortion law

    In a message posted on an internal employee message board today, Apple said that it was monitoring the legal challenges to what it refers to as the “uniquely restrictive abortion law” that was recently passed in Texas. Apple confirmed the authenticity of the message to TechCrunch. “We are actively monitoring the legal proceedings challenging the…

    Stay in touch

    To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

    × Share your content