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COVID-19: MOH trains health workers in risk communication

Ocaatre who is also one of the trainers engages in a chat with Wakiso Health Educator Bonny Natukunda and Brac’s Dr. Franco on the slidelines of the training.

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The Ministry of Health (MOH) has started training health workers on risk communication and surveillance owing to general complacency on wearing masks and other Standard Operating Procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The group of over 200 people from 72 districts of East and Central Uganda will engage in this refresher training for two days where they are among others focusing on psychosocial issues with complaints that people who return from COVID-19 treatment centres are ridiculed in the community. 

According to Dr Ronald Miria Ocaatre, the Ministry of Health Principal Strategic Health Communication officer health educators reported challenges convincing communities about the serious of COVID-19 since many people have now recovered from the early shock that the disease was associated with.  

Ocaatre said that this training came in handy since they had run out of print materials for the information which guides health workers on what is latest as research findings on COVID-19 keep changing. Until yesterday when an NGO BRAC Uganda helped them to print materials, he said information to health workers and the public was being sent out through social media. 

In addition to this, he said, the ministry has been trying to adjust their Tosemberera campaign messages to suit with the facts that keep presenting themselves. At the time this campaign started, Uganda’s key sources of infection were the truckers and health educators had been urged to focus on that but now all efforts are being geared towards halting community infection. 

Dr Inshallah Franco, the Program Manager of BRAC Uganda Health Program who are facilitating the training said they received funds to the tunes of USD 4.7 million from the MasterCard Foundation part of which is for COVID-19 responses. 

The plan is to use some of the funds to help community health workers access personal protective equipment as they engage in activities that include referral of probable COVID-19 patients to necessary care. 

On her part, Bonny Natukunda, a senior health educator for Wakiso district told URN that what has been baffling them is the fact that her district is one of those that have recorded deaths and a number of positives yet people remain unbothered about prevention messages going across.

She said that by  the end of this training, she will have acquired enough knowledge on how to target messages during such a pandemic.

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