Ebola outbreak: Kyotera schools enforce SOPs

KYOTERA– Schools in Kyotera district have started enforcing Standard Operating Procedures [SOPs] meant to guard learners from catching Ebola disease that has hit Mubende district, with 23 people confirmed dead.

The schools in the district are emphasising hand washing, social distancing, and no shaking hands among learners as some of the preventive measures against the Ebola variant, which is transmitted through contact with fluids, and the blood of an infected person.

Ebola broke out earlier this week in Mubende district and the Ministry of Health has advised Ugandans to take the necessary measures to avoid catching the deadly disease.

As such, the headteachers of schools with both day and boarding sections in Kyotera district have decided to apply the same measures, which they enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they think this will save the students from being infected by the Ebola virus.

The headteacher of St. Maria-Goretti Bbaale Primary School, Noah Mawaggali said many people in the district including children in schools were greatly infected with COVID-19, which caused some deaths in the area.

He, therefore, said they are sensitising students on the signs of Ebola and creating awareness on how it can be prevented. He said more emphasis is on maintaining proper hygiene, social distancing by students, and restricting visitors into schools.

”We are emphasising hand washing, social distancing, no shaking hands at school,” he said.

Kyotera district education officer, Mathias Kigoye said the district has 267 schools of which 29 are nursery schools, 201 primary schools, 33 secondary schools, two tertiary schools, and one teachers’ college.

He said both the ministries of Education and Health have not yet come up with guidelines for schools on how to prevent Ebola, but there is a need to follow guidelines to ensure the safety of the learners in schools.

Meanwhile, Padre Pio Development Initiation, a Catholic-founded non-governmental organisation has donated hand-washing facilities to schools to improve hygiene and ensure the safety of children.

The organisation’s Director, Dr. Spire Kiggundu said they aim at improving the quality of life in schools. ”We want to ensure the safety of students amidst the outbreak of communicable diseases,” he said.

He said Uganda is experiencing a burden of communicable diseases, which is at 60 percent, and all stakeholders emphasizing a culture of washing hands will reduce the number of patients coming to hospitals to get treatment for communicable diseases.

Headmistress of St. Rucia Lwagurwe Primary Mixed School, Sr. Consolata Beninya said her school has already received hand-washing facilities from Padre Pio Rural Development Initiative on top of using the available facilities to ensure proper hygiene to protect learners.

She also said they have restricted learners from contact with the people outside there in the community, no student is allowed to leave school premises.

Kyotera district health officer, Dr. Edward Muwanga said the district suffered the experience of COVID-19 and the health workers in are on the lookout.

He advised people to avoid contact with people with Ebola symptoms of high body temperatures, vomiting, bleeding, diarrhea, yellow eyes, fatigue, and chest pain.

He said Ebola spreads very fast like the Covid-19 pandemic and people should be extravagant and report cases of suspected Ebola victims.


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