It is time for Uganda government and public health agencies to make coherent recommendations on appropriate face mask use to complement their recommendations on other preventive measures, such as hand hygiene.

If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly

WHO currently recommends that people should wear face masks if they have respiratory symptoms or if they are caring for somebody with symptoms? Feasibly it would also be rational to recommend that people in quarantine wear face masks if they need to leave home for any reason, to prevent potential asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread. In addition, vulnerable populations, such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions, should wear face masks if available. Universal use of face masks could be considered if supplies permit. In parallel, urgent research on the duration of protection of face masks, the measures to prolong life of disposable masks, and the invention on reusable masks should be encouraged.

Recommendations on face masks vary across the country and we have seen that the use of masks increases substantially once local epidemics commence, including the use of N95 respirators (without any other protective equipment) in community settings. This increase in use of face masks by the general public worsens the global supply shortage of face masks, with prices mounting and risks supply constraints to frontline health-care professionals.

Meanwhile, health authorities should optimise face mask distribution to prioritise the needs of frontline health-care workers and the most vulnerable populations in communities who are more susceptible to infection and mortality if infected, including older adults (particularly those older than 65 years) and people with underlying health conditions.

However, as evidence suggests COVID-19 could be transmitted before symptom onset, community transmission might be reduced if everyone, including people who have been infected but are asymptomatic and infectious, wear face masks.

People at moderate risk of infection: surgical or disposable mask for medical use. People at moderate risk of infection include those working in areas of high population density (eg, hospitals, Markets, buses and train stations), those have been or live with somebody who is quarantined, and administrative staff, police, security, and couriers whose work is related to COVID-19.

People at low risk of infection: disposable mask for medical use. People at low risk of infection include those staying in areas of high population density (eg, supermarket, shopping mall), who work indoors, who seek health care in medical institutions (other than fever clinics), and gatherings of children aged 3–6 years and school students People at very low risk of infection: do not have to wear a mask or can wear non-medical mask (such as cloth mask).People at very low risk of infection include those who mostly stay at home, who do outdoor activities, and who work or study in well-ventilated areas.

 Simple guidelines on how to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask

  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • Use the Masks when its necessary

Finally, when purchasing masks, avoid dubious or unknown websites or sellers, as the quality of their surgical masks and respirators is not assured. In contrast to a thin, single-layered or double-layered paper mask, a surgical mask usually consists of three layers of flat or pleated fabric. Ideally, a surgical mask: Has the manufacturer’s name printed on its packaging, has a particulate filtration efficiency of 80% or higher, carries an expiry date on its packaging, ddoesn’t contain materials that you are allergic to as well as providing a good fit.

At UTAMU, we fight the Spread of COVID-19’’

Thomas Ainebyona

Lecturer - (Health and Safety Management) NEBOSH

The outbreak of Corona-virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has evolved rapidly leaving many Ugandans in a panic mode.  Mr Thomas Ainebyona, a Lecturer of Health and safety Management at Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) has decided to join the government’s effort to fight this pandemic by providing information on the national public health risk and advice on how to control the spread of the virus.

Mr. Thomas Ainebyona

Lecturer at UTAMU.


His advice targets the public, specific groups including employers, healthcare professionals, education settings and the religious settings. Read full article below:
Exposure to COVID-19 may present a health risk to workers and other persons at a workplace. Therefore, employers are required to ensure, that an appropriate assessment of the risk for COVID-19 in their workplace is carried out. Suitable control measures should be identified and implemented to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection. These measures should be communicated to all relevant employees and others at the place of work. 
Control measures will depend on the level of risk and type of workplace. For example, in workplaces where COVID-19 presents an occupational exposure hazard such as healthcare establishments, testing laboratories, immigration control etc., detailed biological agents risk assessments are required. These will need regular review and updating and will be based on current best practice in relation to infection prevention and control. Further information on employer duties under the Biological Agents Regulations is available on UTAMU website.
For other workplaces where there is a lower potential for exposure to COVID-19, employers should take into account the most up to date official advice and guidance from the Department of Business and Economics ( Health and Safety Management) on how to mitigate the health risk to employees and others at the place of work. This should also include measures advised by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor Gender and Social development as well as Ministry of Internal affairs for work related travel.
Employees should follow the public health official advice and guidance including ensuring good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette, to protect against infections and should seek professional healthcare advice if unwell.
At UTAMU we fight COVID-19.


Writer:
Thomas Ainebyona,
Lecturer UTAMU

 

The Chairperson of Board of Directors has appointed Professor Sadiq Yusuf as the new Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU). 

Prof. Sadiq Yusuf, New Vice Chancellor - Uganda Technology and Management University

Prof. Yusuf is a professor of Physiology and has over 25 years experience in teaching, managing scientific research and academic education of undergraduate and postgraduate students. He is well experienced in the circles of universities in Uganda and has worked with Kampala International University – Western Campus where he raised from senior lecturer to Deputy Vice Chancellor (2005 – 2015); St. Augustine International University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs (2016 – March 2019).  

He has more than 10 years of administrative experience in university governance, policies and procedures, accreditation and quality assurance process, budget development, organizational leadership and relationship building with students and staff.

Prof. Yusuf replaces Prof. Benon Basheka whose term ended in August 2019. His contract as Vice Chancellor will run for a period of three (3) years with effect from 6th November 2019 and shall be eligible for re-appointment for one more term subject to satisfactory performance.

Beyond his teaching and research experience,  Prof. Yusuf is also the chairperson, Steering Committee to Establish the Sali International School of Fertility Medicine and Endoscopy Surgery, Women’s Hospital International and fertility Centre in Kampala.

He is also a co-founder of Teaching and Research in Natural Sciences for Development (TReND) in Africa, a Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to the advancement of science research and education in Africa. His research combines neurophysiological, behavioral, biochemistry, anatomical and molecular approaches to understand the fundamental principles involved in the regulation of gastric secretions, the role of brain-gut axis in the gastric mucosa protection; and more recently understanding the cellular mechanisms that are involved in the learning and memory processes in the face micronutrient deficiency especially in children.

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