UCU commissions Covid-19 Student Taskforce for peer-to-peer assistance

By Ivan Tsebeni

Uganda Christian University (UCU) management and student leaders have commissioned a Covid-19 Student Taskforce to further ensure the safety of learners. 

The group of 244 students was tasked with coordinating health activities related to Covid-19 in the university. 

The team was equipped with several skills, such as how to maintain a clean facemask and how to detect students with high body temperatures. This, the university argued, is intended to help the task force identify possible Covid-19 cases among the students and how to offer health assistance to those affected while keeping the larger student body and staff safe. They are, thus, expected to ensure that students practice social distancing, wear masks and always wash their hands at the different water points within the university.  

All education institutions in Uganda were shut down in March last year in order to eliminate concentration centers for the coronavirus. After six months of lockdown, final-year students were allowed to report to school in October 2020. Universities and other tertiary education institutions were reopened to the rest of the students in March 2021.

Some of the UCU student coronavirus task force. Ivan Tsebeni for The Standard.

During the launch of the UCU student taskforce on March 19, Dr. Geoffrey Mulindwa, the Director of Medical Services at the university’s Allan Galpin Clinic, urged members of the student task force to encourage students to adhere to the set standard operating procedures. 

Mulindwa, who is the vice-chairperson of the UCU Covid-19 Taskforce said the university lost two people to the deadly virus since March 2020 and that there were some who had contracted the virus, but got healed. 

“We are not immune from the pandemic; our staff, about six of them, got infected,” he said. “But I thank God that since we reopened for physical classes this year, we have not had any new cases.”

Mulindwa used the opportunity to rally people to get the Covid-19 vaccination, saying it is one sure way of protecting oneself. He thanked the university employees who had heeded the call and got vaccinated. 

UCU Guild President Kenneth Agaba Amponda welcomed the idea of forming the Covid-19 Student Taskforce. He said the main priority of the guild government is to ensure that students are safe by adhering to the Ministry of Health guidelines.

He asked the university to provide T-shirts and tags to students, to help intensify the campaign against the pandemic. He promised to contribute some money from the coffers of the guild government, if the university buys his idea of intensifying the sensitisation campaign about the effects of Covid-19 and how to keep safe. 

The student in charge of health affairs in the UCU guild government, Benjamin Bikongo, noted that the adherence of the students to the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 prevention was good. “I can testify that many students are minding about their health. I, however, urge them to continue observing the set guidelines,” he said.

Garry Murungi, one of the members of the taskforce, lauded the university for the initiative, saying it would keep many students safe.