Museveni nation address
Schools, parents and learners will tune in to radios and glue on to TV screens tonight with the hope of President Yoweri Museveni opening the gates to their institutions of learning.
Nabusayi Lindah Wamboka, the Senior Presidential Press Secretary to President Museveni, confirmed on her official Twitter account @lindahNabusayi on Monday that the President will return to address the nation on Wednesday night.
Nabusayi tweeted: “@KagutaMuseveni will address the Nation on COVID19 situation and related issues on Wednesday September 22, 2021 at 8pm. The address will be live on all Television and Radio Stations.”
Schools, places of worship and entertainment industry largely remain closed since the President imposed a lockdown following the second wave of Covid-19 that hit the nation early this year.
The President said then that he would consider opening up the sectors still facing lockdown if the population achieved recommendable Covid-19 vaccination through the ongoing exercise in the country.
Denis Mugimba, spokesperson at the Ministry of Education and Sports echoed the President’s call when he appeared on NBS TV Morning Breeze programme.
Mugimba explained: “The challenge we are finding is sustaining teachers’ momentum to get vaccinated. Right now, the momentum is about getting schools reopened. People are ignoring the factors that will lead to schools reopening. Vaccination is key.”
On opening schools, the spokesman said: “We are closer to reopening than we were a few months ago. Let us wait for what the President will say. We are hopeful that there will be a few openings.”
Pinned on the calendar for opening, he said: “We planned to have schools reopen in October. When we presented our plan to the decision-makers, we were asked to tweak it due to the slow vaccination process.”
However, ahead of Museveni’s address, the nation is struggling to vaccinate citizens according to ourworldindata.com, which puts people vaccinated against Covid-19 in the country at 2.19%.
The website goes ahead to show the share of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at 0.78% and the share of people only partly vaccinated against Covid-19 at 1.41%.
The Ministry of Health records of Uganda’s vaccination show 366,658 and 1,030,447 of the population on full vaccination and one doze, respectively.
The Ministry of Education and Sports regretted that amidst the wider call for more people to vaccinate, vaccines remain unused in several districts.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Mugimba stated: “There are about 68 districts with a balance of AstraZeneca vaccines. Vaccines make sense only if you go and get vaccinated. I encourage all teachers to go and get vaccinated.”
According to UNICEF which released an article on its website in July, teachers who were included among the priority groups for vaccination, largely remain unvaccinated.
UNICEF recollected: “In recognition of the critical role that teachers play to secure the future of Ugandan children, the Government of Uganda included teachers among the top priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination – along with the lifesavers – the frontline health workers. Unfortunately, only 110,000 of the targeted 550,000 teachers have taken the vaccine.”
The global organisation added: “Over 80 per cent of the teachers are yet to receive a single dose of vaccine. If schools are to reopen, it is important that the remaining 440,000 teachers get vaccinated as soon as the vaccines are available. All non-teaching staff and learners aged 18 years and above in the schools should also be vaccinated.”
The Ministry of Education and Sports updated the vaccinated teachers’ list to 209,527 by the end of August when reports emerged that schools were slated to open early this month.
Mugimba in an interview with Daily Monitor on President Museveni’s rejection of a new plan to reopen schools said: “As of yesterday, 209,527 or 38 per cent of the 550,000 teachers had been inoculated, while the vaccination of adult students is yet to commence.”
The President will return to address the nation pregnant with the news of the largest consignment of Covid-19 vaccines so far received to-date from the United States.
Government and the US Mission Uganda early this week, confirmed 1,674,270 doses of Pfizer vaccine from the US Government in support of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination exercise.
Ainebyoona Emmanuel, Senior Public Relations Officer Ministry of Health confirmed the consignment and went ahead to break down how the ministry will allocate it.
Ainebyoona explained: “Uganda today received 1,674,270 doses of Pfizer vaccines from US Mission Uganda. This consignment will be deployed in Kampala Metropolitan (Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono). The Ministry of Health will provide more details on its deployment in due course.”
United States Ambassador to Uganda Natalie E. Brown on confirming the arrival of the consignment urged the population to embrace vaccination emphasizing the significance of reducing risk and ending Covid-19.
Natalie said: “The evidence is clear: these vaccines are safe and highly effective and one of the most important tools we have in reducing [the] risk of COVID and bringing the pandemic to an end.”
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.