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The 2020 COVID-19 Non-Pharmaceutical Containment Measures – Adherence and Impact on Livelihoods in Rural Uganda

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By Dr. Dan Kajungu and MUCHAP/IMHDSS Team

Uganda is currently experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with an upsurge of cases. The country registered an 81% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases between March and April 2021, which indicates resurgence or another wave in the pandemic. From 200 cases per day in April, now the country is recording over 500 cases per day. The vaccines uptake has improved only recently, and the population has ignored the Ministry of Health (MoH) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) meant to contain transmission. Since March 2021, when the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine was introduced, about 541,569 persons have so far been vaccinated.

On 6th June, new control measures were announced to mitigate the transmission. The Makerere University Centre for Health and Population Research (MUCHAP) which runs a longitudinal population-based cohort of Iganga and Mayuge districts (Iganga Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site) conducted a community survey to understand how citizens responded to the non-pharmaceutical interventional measures, and the impact on their livelihood. This survey was part of the routine community surveys that a typical health and demographic surveillance site conducts to understand the population dynamics in population cohorts. The hybrid survey involved about 2,000 households in rural and peri-urban settings using a questionnaire that adopted some questions from the Wellcome Trust COVID-19 tool. It was a hybrid of on-phone and physical interviews conducted between July and August 2020 right after the relaxation of restriction in Uganda. Community based surveys provide information on what to expect when piloting and implementing interventions in populations. In addition to the demographic and household characteristics, questions sought to understand the extent of community adherence to COVID-19 control measures and probed about the impact on socio-economic and access to health services.

Adherence to preventive measures: The survey found that 94% of the respondents adhered to COVID-19 non-medical control measures that were enforceable by security personnel. It was different for non-pharmaceutical measures that were largely dependent on individual enforcement or discipline and this averaged at 43% of the respondents. Six in ten respondents reported doing most of their work from home and half (50%) avoided seeking medical care at health facilities during lockdown.

The non-pharmaceutical guidelines included using preventive actions like social-distancing, hand washing with soap, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels as well as wearing of face masks. Citizens were encouraged to stay at home with the exception of essential workers who rendered critical services. Some community members could not adhere, not because they do not take it as a priority but because of the cost implications.

Socio-economic impact: There was change in the living arrangement in 12% of the households mostly because someone moved out or into the household. Community members reported a reduction (64%) in the income for household members with some experiencing a complete stop in earnings (6%). Residents in rural settings reported more reduction in income compared to Peri-urban residents (78% vs 74%). There are seemingly unique circumstances that need to be considered as interventions and decisions are made. For instance, it should not be surprising that a household cannot afford to have a bar of soap, a face mask, an alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel and social distance because of the living structures. In some cases, even accessing water is a luxury for some homes. There are some homesteads that are unable to grow food or earn an income from selling cash crops because they leased their pieces of land for large scale sugarcane growing 3 or 4 years ago, with just a house and a few feet of compound to spare. Unfortunately, such individuals have no access to social media where they can express their predicament.

The survey further found out that during the 2020 lockdown period, there was a general increase in violence against men, children, and women. There were cases of child neglect as well as marital problems. The survey found that 53% of the respondents reported increase in marital problems, while violence against women during the lockdown was reported by 51% of the respondents and was more common among rural residents compared to their Peri-urban counterparts. Residents could not access what they considered essential needs like transport and education services, which were directly affected by government directives and other community services. Communication was the most affected essential service reported.

Access to Health Services: 26% of the interviewed community members who were on daily medication due to a chronic or long-term condition reported running out of drugs during lockdown. Non-affordability due to the cost was the main reason in 54% of respondents, while 19% reported cases of stock-outs at both public and private health facilities and 10% were restricted by lockdown measures.

In another review of the immunisation records at Busowubi Health Centre III in Iganga district, it was clear that during the lockdown, utilisation of immunization services was severely affected (manuscript is undergoing peer review). Children did not complete their scheduled vaccine doses which calls for catch up vaccination drives. People could not go to health facilities because of fear of acquiring infection and restricted movements of boda-boda.

Please see Downloads for the detailed report.

Research

Mak Listed in 19 of 60 Projects to be Funded under NORHED II

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The Main Building, Makerere University against an almost clear blue sky. Date taken 15th March 2013, Kampala Uganda.

Makerere University has been listed in 19 out of 60 projects awarded funding under the NORHED II programme set to run from 2021 to 2026. Launched by Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) in 2012, NORHED is Norway’s flagship programme on higher education and research for development.

According to the announcement on the Norad website, 199 applications were submitted to the call, out of which 60 will be funded to the tune of NOK 1.1 billion. Uganda is also listed among the countries with the highest number of projects alongside Tanzania, Ethiopia and Malawi.

Makerere University is listed in a total of nineteen (19) projects applied for by Norwegian institutions namely; the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) – three (3) projects, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) – four (4) projects, University of Agder (UiA) – three (3) projects, University of Bergen (UiB) – six (6) projects, University of Oslo (UiO) – two (2) projects, and The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) – one (1) project.

Makerere was listed most in Sub-programme: 3. Climate Change and Natural Resources (6 projects), followed by Sub-programme: 5. Humanities and Social Sciences (5 projects), Sub-programme: 1. Education and Teacher Training (4 projects) as well as Sub-programme 2. Health and Sub-programme: 6. Energy with two projects apiece. Below is the breakdown of the list in five of the six respective sub-programmes, excluding Sub-programme: 4. Political and Economic Governance where there was no project listed.

 Project titleApplicant organizationProject partners in Global South
Sub-programme: 1. Education and Teacher Training (4 projects)
1CABUTE – Capacity Building for Research-Based Teacher EducationUniversity of Bergen (UiB)Makerere University, Kyambogo University, UNITE – The Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education
2Transformative Education and Lifelong Learning for Sustainable GrowthUniversity of Agder (UiA)Jimma University, University of Rwanda, Makerere University
3Mathematics for sustainable development.University of Bergen (UiB)University of Dar Es Salaam, Makerere University
4Decolonizing Epistemologies: the Disciplines and the UniversityUniversity of Bergen (UiB)Makerere University
Sub-programme: 2. Health (2 projects)
5iCARTA – Institutionalisation of Advanced Research Training in AfricaUniversity of Bergen (UiB)African Population and Health Research Center, University of Malawi, University of Rwanda, University of the Witswatersrand, Makerere University
6Climate Change and Infectious Diseases – A One Health ApproachThe Arctic University of Norway (UiT)University of Bahr ElGhazal, Makerere University
Sub-programme: 3. Climate Change and Natural Resources (6 projects)
7Environmental Risk Management under Increasing Extremes and UncertaintyNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)Haramaya University, Institute of Resource Assessment, University of Dar es Salaam, Uganda Marty’s University, Makerere University
8Climate smart agriculture in Sub-Saharan AfricaNorwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)Wondo Genet college of Forestry and Natural Resources – Hawassa University, University of Juba, Makerere University, Gulu University, University of Zambia,
9Enhanced Capacity for Aquatic Resources in East and South AfricaNorwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)University of Nairobi, Mbeya University of Science and Technology, Egerton University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Eduardo Mondlane, University of Dar Es Salaam, Makerere University, University of Zambia
10Water ESSENCE Africa – creating synergy to meet the global challengesUniversity of Bergen (UiB)Addis Ababa University, University of Ghana, University for Development Studies, University of Nairobi, Machakos University, University of Rwanda University of Juba, Makerere University
11Co-creating knowledge for local adaptation to climate change in LDCsNorwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Pokhara University, University of Eduardo Mondlane, Makerere University
12Adaptive Environmental Monitoring Networks for East AfricaNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)University of Juba, Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology, Makerere University
Sub-programme: 5. Humanities and Social Sciences (5 projects)
13Refugees on the Move – South Sudanese in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda.University of Bergen (UiB)Addis Ababa University, University of Juba, University of Khartoum, Makerere University
14Medical and environmental anthropology for 21st century East AfricaUniversity of Oslo (UiO)University of Nairobi, Maseno University, Kenya Medical Research Institute, National Institute for Medical Research – Tanzania, Makerere University, University of Dar Es Salaam
15Building Resilient Communities through Inclusive Education in East AfricaUniversity of Agder (UiA)University of Rwanda, Institute of Social Work – Tanzania, Makerere University
16Gender and digitalization across context (GENDIG)University of Agder (UiA)University of Dar Es Salaam, Makerere University
17Partnership for Peace: Better Higher Education for Resilient SocietiesUniversity of Oslo (UiO)African School of Economics – Benin, Universidad de los Andes, Mekelle University, Birzeit University, Makerere University
Sub-programme: 6. Energy (2 projects)
18Capacity building for socially just and sustainable energy transitionsNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)University of Nairobi, University of Juba, Makerere University
19Energy Technology NetworkNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)Addis Ababa University, Mekelle University, University of Malawi, University of Eduardo Mondlane, University of Juba, University of Dar Es Salaam, Makerere University

Please click here to view the full list.

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Research

UiB sweeps NORHED II funding

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WATER WORLD: Archaeologist Tore Sætersdal (right) leads the Water ESSENCE Africa project, which was awarded NOK 18.5 million in the NORHED II call. The image shows him in 2013 at Makerere University, which is a partner in this and five other NORHED II projects with the University of Bergen. Photo: Sverre Ole Drønen, UiB

By Sverre Ole Drønen

NORHED is Norway’s national flagship programme on higher education and research for development. NORHED II represents the second time the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) awards funding through the programme. A total of 1.1 billion Norwegian kroner (NOK) were awarded to a total of 60 projects out of 199 applications, of which NOK 250 million were awarded to 13 University of Bergen (UiB) projects. This puts UiB top among Norway’s universities along with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), which was also awarded 13 projects.

The aim of the NORHED programme is to strengthen the capacity of higher education institutions in the global south to produce higher-quality graduates, more research, higher quality research, and more inclusive higher education. The programme is based on a collaborative partnership model between higher education institutions in Norway and the global south.

Makerere University in Uganda is involved in six projects, most of any partner in the global south. These include;

  • Mathematics for sustainable development,
  • Refugees on the Move – South Sudanese in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda,
  • Capacity Building for Research-Based Teacher Education (CABUTE),
  • Water ESSENCE Africa – creating synergy to meet the global challenges,
  • iCARTA – Institutionalisation of Advanced Research Training in Africa, and
  • Decolonizing Epistemologies: the Disciplines and the University

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Agriculture & Environment

My Academic Journey

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Article Author Ms. Irene Bayiyana. Photo: RUFORUM

My name is Irene Bayiyana and I am one of the RUFORUM Alumni. I am an agricultural economist, with a master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics and a PhD in Economics. Currently, I am working as a Research Officer/Agricultural Economist based at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO)/ National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) – Namulonge. When I attained a bachelor’s degree, I worked as an assistant research fellow under Prof. Johnny Mugisha in the Department of agribusiness and natural resource economics at Makerere University. Through Prof. Johnny Mugisha, I got to know about the RUFORUM Grant on “Assessment of spatio-temporal bovine migratory routes and Transboundary animal disease infestation in Uganda”. Since I had the interest to advance my career, I applied for the scholarship

After my admission for the master’s degree, I wondered! what next? The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) had only offered a partial scholarship catering for only my tuition and part of research funds. RUFORUM scholarship covered my stipend, research balance and funds to attend the 2012 RUFORUM Biennial conference thus enabling me to complete my master’s degree.

I was able to realize my dream of becoming a good scientist in 2012 at the RUFORUM Biennial Conference. Through the facilitation to attend several conferences, RUFORUM gave me a chance to interact with a broad spectrum of scientists from whom I learnt and received positive criticism and feedback on what I was doing. Moreover, the encouragement and support from different scientists that I interacted with also spurred me on as an upcoming scientist.

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