COVID-19  Uganda Project #46047

COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda

by The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project
COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda
COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda
COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda
COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda
COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda
COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda
COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda
COVID-19 Support grandmothers & children in Uganda
Uganda Christian University Graduate, Pius
Uganda Christian University Graduate, Pius

We’re grateful to see all students within the community including University students have been positively touched by our programs and COVID-19 efforts. During lockdowns, we did all it could to keep as many of our services such as our health centers and libraries available in spite of school closures. Many University students were sent home from school and forced to find local resources to continue studying. 

University students like Pius Niwamanya, who expressed how the Nyaka Blue Lupin Community Library helped him graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration. 

“January 15th, 2019 was one of the happiest days of my life because it is when I received a call that I would finally be able to go to university. I had completed my A-level education a year earlier and had not enrolled in any tertiary institution as I lacked tuition fees. Now, I had been awarded a full study scholarship from Beautiful World Canada, offered through Nyaka.

On January 20th, 2019, almost a month after the first semester had begun, I attended my first lecture at Uganda Christian University in Mukono. I will never forget the joy and gratitude that I felt, knowing that I was finally a university student. The scholarship from Beautiful World Canada not only catered for my tuition fees, but also scholastic materials, accommodation, necessities, and even a stipend! With all my needs taken care of, I was motivated to work tirelessly to achieve my academic aspirations. I concentrated on my academics and achieved first-class grades in both semesters of my first year.

However, in my second year of university, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, resulting in a nationwide lockdown. All learning institutions were closed, and I went back home to Nyakagyezi village awaiting a time when my studies could resume. Fortunately, my university with authorization from the National Council for Higher Education opted to administer the teaching and learning processes online. I, therefore, had to continue my academic work online using a phone and other electronic devices.

This required stable electricity and internet connections which I did not have at home. The crowded environment at home also did not provide a conducive atmosphere to study.

The Nyaka Blue Lupin Community Library, supported by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, became a Godsend during this time. The library provided a comfortable learning atmosphere with a wide range of reading materials that facilitated ample study and research. The library’s stable electricity ensured that I could always attend my online classes as I was able to charge my phone. The computer lab was available for me to research, complete, and submit schoolwork that could not be done on my phone. This community space allowed me to engage and study with students from other universities who had also taken advantage of the services the library was offering. Through the library, I gained mentors and friends that are still dear to me today.

With all these resources and benefits provided by the Nyaka Library, I was able to not only keep up with my studies but read ahead which allowed me to excel in my academics.

Beautiful World Canada continued to pay for my tuition and internet costs to support my online education during this time, ensuring that my studies remained on track despite the pandemic’s disruption. I was also provided for as I fulfilled the research and internship academic requirements for my course which allowed me to fully engage in the experience. Beautiful World continued to support me when the lockdown restrictions were lifted and I was able to return to university.

On July 29th, 2022, I graduated from Uganda Christian University with a first-class degree in Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration. Indeed, this is a great milestone and I believe it will lead me to my life goals, which include becoming a professor and giving back to my community. The opportunity that was given to me is a blessing that has changed my life! I am where I am today because of Beautiful World Canada and the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the work that they do with Nyaka. I am eternally grateful. Thank you!”

________________________


In June, we happily reported that 99.6% of grandmothers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in our community. At this time, Nyaka continues to take COVID-19 precautions to keep our children, grandmothers, and staff safe. Vaccinations against COVID-19 continue to be given at each school as students become eligible. Staff members have also been vaccinated and are being tested often. Staff and students are immediately sent home when tests report positive for COVID-19 or when COVID-19 symptoms present themselves. Nyaka continues to meet COVID-19 safety requirements set by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. 

Nyaka is grateful to have made it on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our entire community has been touched by each of you that supported us during lockdowns and as we returned to operating in full capacity. At this time, we will be ending our COVID-19 fundraising efforts as we have other projects and programs with financial needs including Education, Grandmothers, and SGBV.

Student COVID-19 Vaccinations
Student COVID-19 Vaccinations

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Grandmother COVID-19 Discussion
Grandmother COVID-19 Discussion

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and USAID have joined efforts with Nyaka and the Ugandan government to accelerate vaccination rates against COVID-19 among elderly persons and their household members.

 These partnerships have led to the following by the end of April: 

 1. Over 12,500 Nyaka community members have been vaccinated.

 2. Over 5 radio talk shows have been conducted

 3. Over 100 radio announcements have been aired

 4. Over 150 persons have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at Mummy Drayton Clinic

 5. Several sensitization campaigns/meetings have been conducted in the community and with stakeholders.

 6. Training of nurses at Mummy Drayton Clinic 

Partnerships like these have helped us reach a 99.6%vaccination rate among grandmothers!



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Kambuga hospital staff - COVID-19 vaccinations
Kambuga hospital staff - COVID-19 vaccinations

Our priorities for Nyaka grandmothers and children are prevention, nutrition, early testing, and eligible immunization. Nyaka works with two Village Health Team (VHT) members to provide reliable information and mobilization in our community areas. VHT team members assist with health education, especially during immunization days, and follow up patients who miss immunization appointments. VHT team members also conduct home health visits to provide education on COVID-19 prevention through hand washing, use of face masks, social distancing as well as encouraging household members to get vaccinated.

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On Monday, January 10th, 2022 Nyaka welcomed children back to school! In order to keep our community safe, teachers and support staff have been vaccinated. Daily, staff members are doing all they can to follow the strict Ugandan Ministry of Health’s (MoH) operating guidelines including cleaning, maintenance, the provision of hand washing stations, masks for all students, plans for COVID-19 safe classrooms, etc. Medical personnel from the local Kambuga hospital, have visited Nyaka to address staff and students at the Nyaka Vocational Secondary School (NVSS) to provide additional guidance on how to stay safe. 

Nyaka has a new coffee table book 'For Our Children’s Sake' available now. To learn more about how to get your copy click HERE!

VHT Conducting Home Visit
VHT Conducting Home Visit

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Students In Masks
Students In Masks

Uganda COVID 19 Update:

All Schools apart from international schools are still closed until January 2022. Universities are scheduled to reopen in November 2021 and only vaccinated students will attend physical

lectures. Universities and some secondary schools are conducting online lessons. As of

October 23, 2021, Uganda had registered a cumulative number of 125,758 confirmed

cases, 48new cases, 3,200 deaths and 96,510 recoveries. By this date 2,854,082 doses of the vaccine had been administered.

Scale up vaccination by prioritizing vaccination for 4.8 million of the priority population (teachers, health workers, elderly, security personnel and students above 18 years). Vaccination sites have been increased to include bars, places of worship and smaller health level facilities in order to bring the four different vaccines available nearer to the people. These steps will eventually lead to safe reopening of various sections.

Nyaka Community Covid Cases:

We are happy to report, there have not been cases reported from July to September among Nyaka staff. Despite our efforts to get community members vaccinated and safety precautions, unfortunately, 22 grandmothers contracted COVID-19. 16 of these grandmothers recovered and six grandmothers died from the virus between July and September. We are working diligently to prevent anymore community deaths. 

Nyaka Operational Response To Covid 19:

Nyaka was recommended by United States Agency for International Development

(USAID) as one of the partners that can help with vaccine uptake in South Western Uganda. Nyaka’s Country Director and Program Manager have held discussions with Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), one of the implementing USAID partners in Western Uganda, to see how best they can support mobilizing communities for increased vaccine uptake. 

All Nyaka services are operational except schools. Students are allowed to come to the libraries to borrow books and also access the internet for those who have online classes as long as they observe standard operating procedures. Teachers continue to support students through clusters and provision of study materials. We also continue to reach grandmothers to educate them about COVID-19 and SGBV.

Keeping our students and grandmothers at the forefront of our minds, we continue to look for support to cover additional costs associated with meeting COVID-19 safety requirements, preparing for the safe resumption of program activities (e.g., schools and community outreaches) in line with government guidelines, providing accurate information on COVID-19 preventive to the community and encouraging community members to get vaccinated. Which has been done through radio programs by different Nyaka staff in  collaboration with voluntary health teams, district officials, health staff from hospitals and other health facilities as well as and other stakeholders in the community.

 

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Nyaka Students In Masks
Nyaka Students In Masks

Like many countries in the world, Uganda experienced a very strict lockdown in the spring of 2020, which helped to reduce the spread of the pandemic (although at considerable social and economic cost, especially for those already living in poverty). 

On June 6th, 2021, following a substantial rise in COVID-19 cases, the President announced a second lockdown. Restrictions were further tightened on June 19th for a further 42 days. At present all Ugandan schools are closed, there is a strict curfew in place and only essential workers with permits are allowed to move. 

In these challenging conditions, Nyaka continues to work to support students, grandmothers and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) survivors, whilst taking all possible precautions to protect our community and follow government directives. 

 We are:

  • Distributing soap and masks to grandmothers and Nyaka students 
  • Providing health care via our community clinics
  • Providing medical care and support to survivors of SGBV
  • Providing counselling to students and others in need of support
  • Providing sanitary towels for girls and young women
  • Providing access to educational materials and library books. 
  • Sharing health education messages about COVID-19 via radio programming and other platforms
  • Distributing emergency food supplies

From everyone at Nyaka in Uganda, we thank you for your continued support!

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Organization Information

The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project

Location: East Lansing, MI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ Nyakaglobal
Project Leader:
Cassandra Jones
East Lansing, MI United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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