Ministry health

Department of Health investigates flu virus in schools

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has asked the public to be patient with the COVID-19 task force as it investigates the mysterious human flu virus in educational institutions.

Aceng was responding to a matter of national importance raised by Bugiri Woman MP, Hon. Agnes Taaka, who said the ministry is denying parents access to help prepare their children, especially those for boarding school.

Taaka worried that the Health Ministry had been slow to normalize school curricula by restricting school visits.

“Some schools have both day and boarding students. The markets are fully open and there is interaction with the students attending the day school. Parents also have a responsibility to prepare their children with teachers, but the ministry continues to deny them this opportunity while they are in school,” Taaka said.

“I would like to appreciate that the children have been in school since January 2022 and that the COVID -19 positivity rate has dropped to 0.4%. Many members are aware that there is a lot of flu in schools and we have taken it upon ourselves to test the children to find out exactly what we are dealing with,” Aceng said.

The minister noted that although the decision was made in good faith, she was certain school staff would not infect the children.

“Teachers responded positively to vaccination and 85% of teaching and non-teaching staff were vaccinated and the majority even received a booster,” she said.

Hon. Patrick Nsamba (NUP, Kassanda County North) noted that even though the Ministry of Health prohibited parents from going to school, there were staff members who commuted.

“These children interact with teaching and non-teaching staff who do not reside in the school. The day students interact with their parents, why not the boarders? I think it’s unfair to the boarders who have been denied access to their parents,” he said.

The Deputy of the Municipality of Busia, the Hon. Geoffrey Macho, asked the ministry to give an appropriate plan for the way forward for the citizens.

“When will Ugandans stop buying masks to protect themselves from COVID-19? Can’t we have a proper plan that we can follow like our counterparts in Kenya? macho asked.