The greater awareness of the long term effects of Coronavirus

I recently watched an Interview on the Good Morning Britain Show, and there was this patient who explained that there are long term effects of having coronavirus and these include failure to walk, shortage of breathe, fatigue, muscle weakness, brain fog which make the person who is said to be recovered from Coronavirus very helpless at that moment

This explains why we need to give these people who have recovered from the virus some more time to become rehabilitated. The effects could become greater and severe if one is an advanced stage of his life. I recently had a friend whose father died from High Blood Pressure and diabetes, however, the doctors in the hospital did not treat this patient because they had not been paid for several months now, they were using the opportunity to extort the relatives of this man money which would be later used in his burial arrangements.

Uganda’s rates of coronavirus deaths have become alarming, but questions are what are these people really dieing from, is it the virus or other disease. Has coronavirus become a business opportunity for the underpaid doctors or is it becoming a stepping stone for the greedy Ugandans?

How COVID-19 crisis affects public and academic libraries and what should their permanent response be?

As Corona virus restrictions (Stay-at-home orders) are lifted across the whole world and in Uganda in a phased re-opening, we expect public and major academic libraries which are main sources of information in Uganda are also preparing to open their doors. But the question is, what will that look like?
It is very sad that Libraries had to close their doors because of this pandemic. Many of the libraries in Uganda especially public and academic libraries such as National Library of Uganda and Makerere University Library were providing very valuable information within the communities they’re serving. However, in Uganda for a very long time, libraries have been struggling to migrate to digital environments partly because of funds and undermining their roles in society. As of now, some libraries have the capability of providing online programming as well as access to digital content. While it remains a mystery whether it will be effective for most for those with information needs with this costly internet access.

Fortunately, Makerere University Library and National Library of Uganda have access to some of the best digital libraries in the world for example e-books, downloadable books, digital magazines and published articles. However, this does not mean all is set for the whole Uganda, these services are known to a few, yet there is an excessive need for information meaning that public, academic and private libraries need to adapt fairly quickly. Libraries that provide digital content need to know how to promote it and also expand the capacity to fulfil demand for this information since people may not be able to access public libraries to access physical materials.

For some public and academic libraries that offer access to internet and computers, this is going to be a challenge because this pandemic or crisis has magnified Uganda’s digital divide is wide beyond imagination and this impacts the communities that need these services the most. The other question here is how will these libraries continue to provide high speed internet without breaching the presidential directives of social distancing and avoiding crowded areas? High speed internet is critically important today in the 21st century environment so government through the ministry of ICT should support libraries in giving people free high-speed internet with Wi-Fi in safe designated areas so as to reduce on the internet problems. 

Libraries and their support groups need to come up with solutions in every possible way to stay relevant to the communities they serve as well as the nation at large. Looking beyond this pandemic, I see heavy reliance on the internet for information than physical libraries meaning that librarians and their professions may be rendered unused if they do not come up with better ideas of packaging the right information to the right users.

The government also needs to invest in digital information and online programs so that libraries are not surprised in such crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic unexpected visit to this world. Libraries need to review what they offer online so that they suite the needs of the people they serve. Training more digital officers will also help in reducing the risks involved in providing information physically. 

Broke and Broken: the cost of unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis

As many Ugandans fear the coronavirus pandemic is evolving from a health crisis into a financial crisis, shuttering businesses, up-ending industries and NGO’s, and placing the livelihoods of millions of people at risk. The question is; how is Uganda going to deal and cope with the sudden sharp/steep rise in unemployment? And should we expect more job losses this year? 

Apparently, the after effects of this pandemic (COVID-19) could be even more deadly than the virus itself. There is no plan on governments in some countries to restructure their economies to cope with the economic fallout. Uganda is no exception to the global unemployment statistics, although Uganda has a very unique situation from the rest of the world, the unemployment statistics for Uganda are misleading. In reality, according to the World Bank Ugandans, and especially young Ugandans, are highly likely to be underemployed, in precarious and non-rewarding work, or in jobs that cannot offer decent incomes. 83.5% of the Ugandan population aged between 15-29 work in informal jobs, and that figure is 10% higher for young women than men.

Uganda was plunged into as many challenges as is of now and will be after the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is facing crucial systemic barriers that limit economic growth and job creation, among these is an unfavorable business climate, characterized by an often-prohibitive cost of doing business, and limited access to start-up or scale-up capital.

It has been termed as the new normal, but the truth is, it is not normal and its nothing like it. The disease itself, the massive job losses and more so the blown-up economy of Uganda makes things not normal at all. The government is throwing enormous amount of money at the problem (COVID-19) but it is impossible to calculate the human cost of this catastrophe.

Many young Ugandans who have been employed have either been underemployed or informally employed and this time the number will increase traumatically. The government is and will really not be concerned about those who have and will lose their jobs because they’re trying to save the drowned economy. But what does the cost of being out of work mean for an average Ugandan youth? First, it affects their standard of living, it affects their self-esteem, their mental health is affected because of staying at home. With corruption at its peak in the country, there is no hope for a young graduate to be back to the employment platform. It is obvious the government can not support the entire nation’s youth to get back up, get businesses operating again, because it does not need to bare this burden.

As painful as it has become for thousands of individuals and families, lifting the lockdown measures would actually make things worse off. It will get out of control if the government rushes to lift the lockdown, therefore, the measures need to be done slowly and carefully not to add salt to the big wound of unemployment. However, many Ugandans have become too impatient for things to get back to normal, no one wants to stay at home anymore. But where are they going? to work? Which work? The size of the shock of this pandemic has been too large that most people are going to be left struggling, homeless and broken for like 2-3 years to come before we can look at something like really back to normal. There is no positive news for Ugandans because the economy is in no better state compared to like 6 months ago. The future is unprecedented and looks like the blown-up economy’s fiscal response is comparably not known.

5 Key Principles for Asset Based Community Development

Empowerment for Social Change

As part of the ongoing Can Do Empowerment Programme in the UK an interactive session was held with local practitioners on Asset Based approaches to Empowerment where the following key principles were developed.

  1. Relationships are critical and really matter, especially when connecting and mobilising identified assets.
  2. It is important to start with strengths as well as examples of what works. This helps to inspire and motivate people
  3. It is essential to work with the whole community and not just parts of it. This we called placed based working.
  4. Always make sure everything is citizen led. Identifying and working with people who act as Community Builders, Community Organisers and Community Connectors.
  5. Make the focus of your work that of Social Justice. Everyone must have a voice and be heard. Make sure there is space for those people who are most marginalised and bring them to the centre of everything you do.

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Bodies & souls

Being happy or sad, gloomy or excited, moody or stable… are options that are presented to you every morning. You just have to make the right choice.

It is good to dream big but your dreams will never see the light of day if you sleep big too.

You can do nothing today and have an uncertain tomorrow… or you can do something good today to shape a better and brighter tomorrow. What will it be?

Success is not just a measure of how big you can DREAM, it is also a measure of how much you can DO.