On March 16, 2020, Uganda reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19. From that date onwards, a total of 98,530 confirmed cases and 2,968 deaths have been reported in Uganda (WHO, 2021). In June 2021, Uganda was ravaged by a second wave of infections, stretching the capacity of hospitals and its staff, burdening the economy, taking a serious toll on communities and forcing the country back into lockdown restrictions.
Our country representative in Uganda, Hanipha Kakooza, shares her personal reflection on the COVID-19 situation in her home country and her personal life.
Ever since I contracted COVID-19 myself, the effects have been endless: my body ached, I remained with constant headache for about 6 weeks after turning COVID-19 negative, I gained some weight, I felt clumsy, I felt I was forgetful, still I couldn’t believe these were true feelings. I thought my complaints were exaggerated, until I heard more people complaining about the same after turning negative with COVID-19 test. I honestly believe COVID-19 disease has an effect on the brain, but this needs further research on the COVID-19 survivors.
For the first time I have seen Ugandans really serious on a health-related issue.
The second wave has really touched Ugandans in a unique way. There has been loss of lives and many people have learnt to adhere to changes. Before, wearing seat belts or helmets, was a nightmare and one would rather be fined than doing the right thing to protect themselves. Now, people are geared to protect themselves. It is hard to find people without masks. I have never seen this before, at least in Uganda.
I am shocked to see how many girls are found to be pregnant at a very young age these days. This is mainly because teenagers are out of school and spending unstructured and unsupervised time at home. They do not have control of parents who were used to refer their responsibility to teachers. There is a need to empower parents on how to protect and educate their children.
This pandemic has caused a lot of negative consequences, from experiencing the virus’ side effects to anti-COVID-19 regulations. Yet it has also provided a common target to fight off, giving members in the community a responsibility to take care of themselves and each other.