According to data from the health ministry, only 775 schools (approximately 2.5 per cent) out of an estimated 30,519 that are registered with the Ministry of Education and Sports, are reporting COVID-19 surveillance numbers.
The Ministry of Health is
bothered about the few schools that are reporting COVID-19
surveillance figures, two weeks after the reopening of schools across the
According to data from the health
ministry, only 775 schools (approximately 2.5 per cent) out of an estimated
30,519 that are registered with the Ministry of Education and Sports, are reporting
COVID-19 surveillance numbers.
The figures released by the Ministry
of Health indicate that on January 19, 2022, a total of 476,910 individuals were
screened for the disease in schools with 45,298 of these exhibiting symptoms of
COVID-19. However, no one has tested positive for the disease.
The failure of schools to report
COVID-19 surveillance results goes against the school re-opening guidelines
issued in December last year by the Education Ministry ahead of the full
re-opening of education institutions after spending a record 83 weeks of
According to the guidelines, all
schools are supposed to carry out daily surveillance and send their results to
a central system that can be accessed by both the Ministry of Health and their counterparts
in the Ministry of education. Everybody who accesses the school must undergo
The school management is also required to deliberately
probe for the COVID-19 symptoms like high temperature, flu, cough or sore
throat, difficulty in breathing, loss of smell or taste and fatigue. Once someone presents with more
than three symptoms, they are supposed to be isolated and later tested for the
If they test positive but have mild forms of the disease, they are
supposed to be isolated while receiving care, but if their condition worsens,
they are supposed to be admitted to the nearest health centre that they are
attached to for care.
The surveillance was developed to
stop schools from hiding cases as was the case last year in June when schools
became breeding grounds of COVID-19. According to the Education ministry
guidelines, school headteachers found of hiding suspected or confirmed cases
of the disease would be personally held liable.
A total of 7 billion Shillings
was recently donated by the UK and Ireland to support the safe re-opening of
schools. One of the issues that the funds were supposed to address was the
screening of learners and all people who access schools.
Dr Charles Olaro, the Director of
Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health says the lack of information will
make it hard for the health ministry to respond in case of outbreaks in
"We need the information from schools to
be able to support them. This information should be timely because it will
enable us to identify possible hot spots on schools early and send the
necessary support. We cannot do this if schools are not reporting,” Dr Olaro says.
Moses Olok, the chairperson of
the District Inspectors of School Association says that the non-compliance of
schools is worrying. According to Olok, the surveillance reports for the first
week would be very critical as they could shade a picture of the status of
learners who are just settling in.
Olok, however, notes that schools
should not be blamed for not reporting. He says that many school administrators
are not aware of the surveillance system being used since few school managers
and teachers were trained and most of them were for government schools.
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He adds that insufficient training
has affected the way schools respond to the tool. Olok however notes that there
are efforts to carry out more training.
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A cross-section of private school headteachers interviewed on the tool was hearing about the need to carry out
reporting for the first time. Others did not know where to send the
Margret Nakanooza, the headteacher of St Joseph Primary Schools says some teachers even after attending
the training do not know where to send the necessary information. As a result,
whatever information is collected ends up stored on phone but not sent to the
relevant officers at the Ministry Of Health and the Ministry of Education.
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Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry
of Health Spokesperson, says that they have already identified the gaps and
currently all efforts are being forced on training to ensure that schools learn
how to record and report the information as required by standard operating