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Speech by The Chairman of The Board of Directors of UTAMU, Prof. Venansius Baryamureba, at The 6th Graduation Ceremony

Speech by The Chairman of The Board of Directors of UTAMU, Prof. Venansius Baryamureba, at The 6th Graduation Ceremony

The year 2020 was registered as one of the most health challenging years in the history of Uganda and world over with the development of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID 19) pandemic. Globally, COVID 19 has reminded historians of the deadliest pandemic in the history of mankind- the 1918 Spanish flu which affected an estimated 500 million people and killed 20-50 million people worldwide. 

Despite many tiring months physically, emotionally and financially, COVID 19 continues to present similar global threats to human life just like the Spanish flu in 1918. Unfortunately, even in this new year most Ugandans are yet to come to terms with the severity of this pandemic as it continues to render majority bedridden, and in some cases ending lives.  

The severity is in the harsh reality that no part of the world has gone unaffected. It is a cross-border and cross-continent viral disease, simply meaning there is no limit to its spread. An air borne virus that spreads through air onto surfaces by acts of coughing and sneezing. These contaminated surfaces are touched by human hands who infect themselves through touching the soft parts of their bodies. These soft parts are the eyes, nostrils and mouth which are the main entry points for the virus to cause sickness.

Realistically, COVID 19 is the easiest disease to prevent because it is a viral disease whose prevention mechanism is known and can be avoided if each of us deliberately makes a choice to cautiously do what we are supposed to do to keep ourselves safe. As mentioned in the last months by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health in Uganda, there are four pillars of health which are very important in the fight against COVID 19 and to be reminded these are;

The physical act of not touching your face without washing your hands with soap or the use of hand sanitizer, putting on a face mask that covers both the nose and the mouth to reduce the chances of the virus infiltrating in your body, a face shield is an added advantage to the mask and social distancing of at least 2 meters between persons.

Most importantly yet least mentioned is adequate nutrition. If your immune system is boosted with at least 60 required nutritional essentials on daily basis, it has a very high chance of fighting the virus if you are infected. Some of these nutritional essentials include but not limited to; 29 different types of minerals, 16 different types of vitamins, 12 different types of essential amino acids, 3 different types of essential fatty acids, consuming adequate oral fluids among which is water because the virus also causes dehydration.  Simply adequate nutrition is having a good and balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fibre, vitamins, minerals and water. 


Another pillar is adequate body exercise. With COVID 19, there are specific exercises that need to be done to improve proper respiratory system to function well. The lungs need to have the ability to perform fully to enable proper breathing. The exercise does not allow the mucous to accumulate thereby inhibiting it from sticking the lower part of the lungs to the diaphragm muscle. This normally results to a COVID-19 victim feeling suffocated while breathing. As a result, the victim will require external improvement by introduction of artificial breathing. This explains why COVID-19 patients end up in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) which facilities are limited in the country. In this case it is better to have frequent exercises of the lungs such breathing complications.  

Adequate rest is essential.  The normal human being just like any machine requires to be serviced as frequently as possible for the body to function well. In this case, people need to take leave off from work. If you work for 8 hours, you need rest for 8 hours in order to allow the body to relax for better performance. Once in a while, take your family out in a quiet place in order to relax the body so that you can improve performance of your brain. This means having time off and making the brain relax. It is quite unfortunate that human beings care so much about their machines such as cars that are often serviced after a certain mileage but fail to do the same to their own bodies. Therefore, just like the way you want the engine of your car serviced and rested as frequently as possible, you need to do the same to the engine of the body which is the brain unless if you want to have an engine knock. In this case the management of COVID-19 is basically about having adequate rest amongst other pillars.

The science of steaming has been proven to be very effective in controlling and preventing very many diseases. This practice of steaming is borrowed from the Traditional Chinese Medicine concept (TCM) that has been existing for over 5000 years. The concept believes that the body should be detoxified, nourished and protected (yin and yan) for one to be healthy. This practice explains why the Chinese and Japanese live longer than other human beings in other continents. Unfortunately, very many human beings do not practice steaming as it is associated to the ancient times. In as far as COVID-19 19 is concerned studies have revealed that the virus can actually stay longer around the nasal sinuses dormant before it formulates colonies and become active in order to begin destroying the respiratory system. In this case, steaming is highly recommended among other practices such as taking warm oral fluids with the nutritional essentials to destroy the virus. When done rightly, COVID-19 patients will rapidly improve as steaming is known not only for relaxing the body muscles but also to improve on the respiratory system.

Prevention is not only about the Standard Operation Procedures that are commonly publicized but includes all the pillars mentioned above.  The responsibility lies on every global citizen to adhere to the 4 pillars to prevent the further loss of lives. The fight against COVID 19 is knowledge and implementation based. Let 2021 be a year we commit to keep healthy and fit to fight COVID 19.

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