Cultural defiance among locals puzzles district task force as COVID- 19 Positivity rate stands at 33%
By Alex Gahima
The Kisoro district COVID-19 task force is facing a challenge of how to change mindsets and attitudes of the public towards mass gatherings at market places, weddings and burials as the country prepares for a third and even deadlier wave of the Corona virus pandemic.
The comments were made earlier this week during a district task force meeting where the health department revealed that the positivity rate for corona virus cases which currently stands at 33% is still very high.
As of August 3rd 2021, the cumulative positives for Corona virus since June 2021 is 947 out of 2,837 total tests conducted.
The cumulative deaths stand at 23 including 8 who died from other health facilities and were buried in Kisoro.
The total number of discharges from hospitals as well as home based care currently stand at 498.
The developments come days after President Museveni called for a partial lockdown after a serious 42day country wide lockdown.
The head of Surveillance in the office of the district health officer (DHO) Nick Muneza says based on data collected on July 26th to 31st July 2021, Kisoro Municipality was s leading with the most cases testing positive for Corona virus.
According to Muneza, out of 299 samples tested, 100 people tested positive for COVID-19.
He further noted that results of females tested returned positive at a rate of 61% while males tested positive at a rate of 31%
Muneza also presented tentative results that were collected during the one week of investigation.
|Leading Sub County
(26th July to 31st July 2021)
Testing Positive for COVID-19
The Kisoro resident district commissioner and chairperson of the task force Rtd. Captain Peter Mugisha said the district had three options in influencing behavioral change among the communities.
“We have told politely told the communities to stop gathering but they have refused. We have also arrested a few individuals with hopes that others would fear but still it has not worked therefore our third and only option is to use reasonable force”, Mugisha said
He further noted that the security in Kisoro has betrayed the fight against COVID 19 because O.Cs at Sub County level are bribed to turn a blind eye when a burial or a wedding, attracting hundreds of people are taking place.
The Kisoro district chief administrative officer Ismail Onzu said the only way to ensure that people follow the Standard Operating Procedures is to engage local leaders at village level including LC ones, Secretary for defense who know the people in the village.
“These leaders know who is selling alcohol in the village or where a burial or planned wedding is going to take place so we need to engage them more actively if we wish to change mindsets”, Onzu explained
The Commanding officer of the 38 battalion Lt. Col Gumizamu Kafureka explained that all drinking areas need to be closed immediately because as long as people gather, the fight against COVID -19 will be lost.
The Diocesan secretary for the Diocese of Muhabura Rev. Steven Ruzaza says, all church leaders are well aware of the required number of 20 people or less but the communities feel compelled to attend.
Why do People continue to gather despite the Pandemic?
Uganda, being strategically positioned along the equator is conducive for its good weather and fertile soils however it is also home to more than 56 tribes and about nine indigenous communities that formally came to be recognized in the 1995 constitution amendment of 2005.
Communal activities like burials and weddings are a sign of enhanced social support, a sense of solidarity and mutual aid. People involved in these activities feel a sense of identity and belonging.
However with the Corona virus pandemic still at large, the cost is far too great therefore people need to adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures, if they wish to live another day.