Kabale University Vice Chancellor Launches COVID-19 Vaccination at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital
Vaccination of the public against COVID-19 in Kabale District was launched on 16th March 2021 at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital (KRRH), starting with health workers of the hospital and academic medical staff of Kabale University. World over, the vaccination process has been threatened by negative rumours against the vaccines regarding their safety. To encourage health workers, academic staff and the general public to come out to receive the vaccine, the Kabale District Health Officer, Mr. Alfred Besigensi, the KRRH Director, Dr. Sophie Namasopo, and the Kabale University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Joy Kwesiga, offered to receive the vaccine publicly. They were the first three people to receive the jab. They were followed by the Dean of Kabale School of Medicine (KABSOM), Dr. Sam Tumwesigire, and many other professors in the School. Several people present gave motivational remarks to the audience.
In their remarks, the speakers encouraged the public to come out in large numbers to receive the vaccine and bring the threat of COVID-19 to an end. Dr. Namasopo encouraged the health workers who have already braved the worst of the epidemic to fortify their body defences with the vaccine. Mr. Besigensi informed the audience that the district had received an initial batch of over 4,000 doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, which will be enough for two the doses that each person needs, for the 800 health workers in Kabale District . As a result, the district had extended the service to medical lecturers in KABSOM. Prof. Kwesiga thanked the Government of Uganda for securing the vaccine and distributing it for free to the public. She thanked Kabale district and hospital authorities for always considering Kabale University in their plans and activities, and said that this affirmed both the formal and informal relations between the university and them. She also thanked them for handling COVID-19 very well, leading to good results, where only 13 people had died out of 550 severe cases managed at the hospital. She emphasised that people of all ages should not fear the vaccine. To demonstrate her commitment, she emphasised that she, as a senior citizen, had taken the jab and even brought her husband, Prof. Jassy Kwesiga, another senior citizen, along. Both took the jab. Prof. James Tumwine of KABSOM assured the general public that the science of developing the vaccine is solid and the vaccine is safe for human uptake. He warned that those who miss the vaccination may become the laughing stock if the disease wrecks havoc among the non-immunised, later. Prof. Everd Maniple, also of KABSOM, assured the audience, mainly of the hospital and university staff, that all new innovations face negative rumours and that, in accordance with Rogers’ Theory of Diffusion of Innovations, they should not allow themselves to be the “laggards”, but rather the “Early adopters”.
Over 100 health workers were vaccinated on the spot. Those vaccinated were given vaccination certificates and urged to return for the second and final dose on 10th May 2021. The exercise ended with the Vice Chancellor making a guided tour of the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital which was renovated by Kabale University recently. The tour was conducted by Dr. Namasopo, assisted by Sr. Teddy Tushabe, an alumna of Kabale University School of Nursing who is in charge of the Intensive and Critical Care Unit at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital. The Vice Chancellor was impressed with the infrastructure and equipment and thanked the Government of Uganda for the investment for the good of the health of the people of Kigezi and the neighbouring regions and countries. Dr. Namasopo said that the hospital has trained some staff in Intensive and Critical Care medicine and others were still undergoing training. She said that the hospital is now capable of handling critically ill patients, but still needs a standby generator to provide dedicated electricity to the unit.