Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Oyo orders kingdom to venture into fish farming

By Hope Mafaranga
The king of Toro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV,                has instructed his ministry of agriculture to ensure the development and promotion of fish farming among his subjects.
King Oyo, who was recently  touring the Aquaculture Research and Development Centre (ARDC) in Kajjansi, Wakiso district, said Toro has many water bodies which should be used for fish production.
ARDC is a government owned facility, a branch of the Fisheries Resource Research Institute, in Jinja.
But, unlike the facility in Jinja, the one in Kajjansi focuses only on aquaculture. It is also a branch of the National Fisheries Resources Institute (NAFIRRI), which is a Public Agriculture Research Institute, under the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO), responsible for fisheries research.
The centre undertakes studies in fish feeds, fish health, genetics, hatchery and market.
Oyo also toured fish ponds, greenhouses, breeding and nursery areas, as well as a feed mill plant. During the tour, he interacted with scientists from Uganda and China.
Oyo, who kept on asking the scientists questions about breeding, feeding, demand, research, market, production and ponds management, said he is kicking off the project in the kingdom with immediate effect.
King Oyo was accompanied by the kingdom’s minister of agriculture, David Sabiiti and Peter Birungi, the minister of education.
He said his region is endowed with many crater lakes, natural rivers and lakes that have not been utilised, adding that if developed, they will provide employment to the youth and improve household incomes.
The king said he has a group of youth who are interested in fish farming and the visit to the research centre was intended to give him a scientific idea about modern fish farming, which he said was a viable investment to the kingdom.
“We want the youth to start farming fish, backed by science and research so that they do not make mistakes,” he said.
Matthew Mwanja, one of the scientists who guided the king around the research centre, said the centre also offers extension services to fish farmers and pledged the centre’s commitment to supporting Toro in the venture.
Mwanja said fish farming is similar to the farming of any crop because people have to know the right fish and how to farm it.
He said the research they carry out on fish is demand based. Mujib Nkambo, a scientist, who took the king through the steps involved in fish farming, asked him to encourage his people to practice modern fish farming.
Nkambo said their efforts are geared towards curbing the dwindling stocks of fish in natural water bodies, adding that the sector employs 500,000 people directly, and more than 2.5 million people indirectly.
He also said they export 90,000 tonnes of fish every year, which earns the country $150m, while the region consumes 60,000 tonnes that bring in about $80m.
He asked the kingdom to embrace Semutundu, Kisinja and Ningu fish because they thrive better in Toro region, compared to other areas.

Technology to eliminate HIV double testing, improve reporting time and general health care

Technology to eliminate HIV double testing, improve reporting time and general health care
By Hope Mafaranga
It is amazing on how I can just come here and spend as little time as one hour.  It looks like a miracle to some of us who have lived with HIV / AIDS for more than 20 years.  
Two years ago I required a full day to come for treatment because of the tedious system the health workers had to go through to retrieve our files, but now it is just a click on the bottom with my finger print all will be there and I get services immediately.
Olivia Kajumba 37, a resident of Nyakigumba village, Kisomoro sub-county in Kabarole district who has been getting HIV treatment and care at Kibiito health IV could not find the right words to explain how  gratitude she is about  the new technology of tracking people ‘s health by finger print.
 The technology being implemented by the Makerere University School of Public Health through its project of Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS) is being piloted in Kabarole and Hoima districts respectively and funded by Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Kajumba said she now spends less time at the health facility and has enough time to engage in more productive work to sustain her family.
“The cues were so long because the system of retrieving our files from the records office was too much. The finger prints technology has reduced lines because it takes a short time to verify my information,” she said.
 She told New Vision that the system is also capable of telling what combination a particular patient is taking, the drugs the patients is allergic to and also know  his/her next medical appointment and the medical  doctor that examined her.
How it works
Among the interventional the technology is spearheading is to monitor the viral load of people who are already on the Antiretroviral drugs (ARVS) to see how they are coping with treatment and if the virus in their bodies have been suppressed.
According to scientists low or supressed viral load will lead to prevention on new HIV infections and also improve the health quality of people living with HIV and reduce HIV mortality.
Chris Byaruhanga the Kabarole district Biostatistician said the technology will also help to know the actual numbers of people living with HIV.
 He said in 2016, the ministry of health placed Kabarole HIV Preference rate at 15 per cent which much higher than the national level of 6.7 percent.
“The facilities with fingerprint technology have been interlinked which is necessary to accurately monitor the clinical progression of HIV positive patients longitudinally,” he said.
Charity Kyomugisha the METS deputy programmes manager said they have been able to eliminate the double testing of people and hope it will go a long way in fighting drug resistance among the people living with HIV.
 Kyomugisha also said it will help to follow up patients who have been in care from one health facility to another and also truck those who are having adherence to treatment challenges.
“We have heard people testing from one center and going to another one to get treatment while others who have absconded on their treatment deceiving their new health providers that they have not been on treatment. The technology will sort all this out,” she added.
Dr Eddie Mukooyo a commissioner in the minister of Health said the finger print technology will be integrated into the Uganda Electronic Medical Records System (UgandaEMR).
UgandaEMR is an application which enables design of a customised medical records system with no programming knowledge although medical and systems analysis knowledge is required.
Dr. Mukooyo said UgandaEMR was approved Ministry of Health Patient Electronic Medical Records System currently running in 600 health facilities across the country.
 The country has 6,408 facilities including public facilities, private for profit and private not for profit facilities.
He said Ministry of health has set a target of 1000 health facilities to be running UgandaEMR by the end of March 2018.
“Ministry of Health is targeting 1000 additional health facilities to be running UgandaEMR by March 2018.  With support from METS Programme and other partners, the Ministry has customised UgandaEMR to include the Tuberculosis (TB) data entry forms and Maternal and Child Health (MCH) forms and registers,” he said.
Capacity building
To quicken the integration progress, the ministry, METS and other partners gathered at Lake View Hotel in Mbarara district and trained a cadre of UgandaEMR expert trainers and users across the country.
“We are training biostatisticians, recorder keepers and other health workers to upgrade, troubleshoot, use UgandaEMR and extend UgandaEMR in all health facilities,” Dr. Mukooyo said.
He also said the trained cadres will be able to provide hands-on training and build capacities to their colleagues to support the rollout of the updated version of UgandaEMR.
“Trained personnel are expected to pass on the knowledge acquired from the training to rest of their team members so that we have a force of well equipped, knowledgeable people to roll it out at all district level so that our people get comprehensive health services,” he added.
Dr. Edgar Kansiime the HIV Case Based Surveillance Coordinator explained that system will also help Uganda to achieve the 90-90-90 UNAIDS Sustainable Goal by 2020.
“The system will help us to achieve this goal of having all people living with HIV know their HIV status,  all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive treatment  and  all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression by 2020,” Dr. Kansiime said.
Dr Kansiime said the current target is having 1,195,742 clients on ART from 1,476 ART facilities with the majority of these clients from HC III, HC IV and General Hospital across the country.
77% of facilities are Government owned with 67% of targeted clients and the High-volume facilities are the priority for EMR rollout.
“The Ministry is targeting the roll out to cater to non-ART facilities so that they can use UgandaEMR in the subsequent years,” he said.

Girl’s struggle to attain education in northern Karamoja

Girl’s struggle to attain education in northern Karamoja
By Hope Mafaranga

You have no idea what we girls go through in this region to attain education.  Someone needs to understand the Karamoja dynamics and the things parents and guardians pay attention to and regard as their priorities.
Among our parents priorities, shockingly but true,  education is not one of them, says Esther Lokote a primary seven pupil of Nakoreto primary school in Kotido district.

Lokote prints a picture of sadness on lack of commitment of parents to educate a girl child. “All what my parents see in me are cows and grandchildren. Nothing else they want. They do not want to see me progress from primary to high level of my education,” she said.
Struggle for support
Lokote  who pays her school fees of sh21,000 per term  which she earns  during holidays after working for people as a house maid, say she has repeated primary seven for four times because she cannot afford school fees in secondary school and no one has come for her rescue.

She has been passing the primary leaving examinations since 2014 but because she does not want to be married off, she is forced to repeat primary school to keep away from the eyes of her parents who want to sell her off.

“I have been passing with marks that can take me to secondary school but I did not have the money to go. I am now reading so hard and praying to God to get 4 aggregates so that I can get a sponsor. Ideally I could be in senior four now but there is no hope for me,” says the 16 years old.
She also most of peers who went back to the communities are now mothers at a tender age because they parents looked at them as source of wealth.

“I cannot go back to my village. I do not want to take such risk of being forced into early marriage. Moreover the parents do not even seek for our consent before. I have to continue struggling until I attain my goal of becoming a nurse. I know my God is not sleeping and one day he will bring an angel to support my education,” she says.

Charles Owiny the Abim district inspector of school agrees with Lotete of the negative attitude parents have towards girl education.
Vivian Lochoro another pupil say the safest place  for girls are schools saying that parents  value animals and small business than their girl children.
“ A girl child is prepared to become wife not a career and all round person. This as children we have to stand up for our rights and say enough is enough and we need education,” she said.
Lochoro thanked government for have introduced the boarding government aided primary schools in Karamoja to protect them.
She however says that this is not enough because after primary schools, those who are lucky to have completed do not go far due to lack of money.
“ I know government and other partners are doing their best but it’s not enough. Most girls complete primary school at the age of 13 and if you fail to get fees, the option is to find you a husband,” she said.

Owiny said the situation is not so different in Abim district just like other districts in Karamoja. He says Abim district with an estimated population of 121,900 of people which was curved out of Kotido district in July 1, 2006 have a large number of school drop-out.
The district has 34 governments aided primary schools, 12 community schools and five privately owned primary schools. Out of the 12 community schools, six are functional and six are non-functional.Owiny added that there are seven parishes without primary schools.  He named the parishes as Loyoroit, Oringowelo, Agwata, Angwee, Oyaro, Barlyech and Kobulin.
Owiny also said the district  have only four secondary schools of which three are government aided and one is privately owned called Alerek Progressive Academy.
He explained there are four sub-counties without secondary schools that include Magamaga, Awach, Abim and Nyakwae.
He also said the district has only one technical school called Abim Technical Institute, making it hard for students who wish to get vocation skills difficult to access.
“You can imagine the suffering of children in those sub-counties without any secondary school. They trek long distances and some failed drop out of school,” he explained.
Survival rate
Owiny said one of the biggest challenges the district have is the survival of the pupils who enroll in primary to ensure that they complete primary seven. He said that in 2009, 2119 boys and 2147 enrolled but only 719 boys and 469 were able to finish the primary seven.
He cited 2010 as another year that saw the number of pupils failing to complete primary school.
“That year we enrolled 2194 boys and 4279 girls but only 682 boys and 549 girls sat for their primary leaving examination. The rest never finished and this is not a small number that stakeholders should ignore,” he said, adding that the drop-out rates are relatively higher among the girls as compared to the boys
He said the survival rate from 2009-todate of is boys 34%, girls 22% and overall is 28%.
He cited poverty, early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and involvement in petty business, negative attitudes, bad cultural beliefs, domestic chores, teasing/nicknames, peer influence, poor performance, and lack of role models, lack of guidance and counseling and child neglect as the leading causes of the school drop-out.
Education not seen as a priority for so many years
The Kotido district LC V chairperson Ambrose Lotukei said that going to school in Karamoja has not been an important aspect of people’s priority.
Lotekei remembers his personnel experience when he was picked by the Iddi Amini’s soldiers forcefully to be taken to school.
In a sad voice, the LCV boss who also served as the district education officer for 11 years said the memories so painful because his parents often picked him from school and hide him in granary to prevent him from studying.
“But even then I was taken to school by the soldiers; my parents would often pick me from school and hide in the granary so that I do not study,” he said.
The educationalist said the situation has left the district is uncomfortable situation and they are trying their best to mitigate the challenges.
His comments were emphasised by George William Kiberu the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Uganda programmes Manager in charge of Northern Karamoja who said they running awareness campaigns to change the trend.

“We organise radio talk show on early marriage and teenage pregnancies and discussion on issues affecting adolescents on addition to organizing debates in secondary schools on specific health topics for adolescents both in schools and out of schools,” he said.

Kiberu said with funding from DANIDA, they also created School Advocacy Clubs to provide a child friendly spaces as a platforms where children identify challenges that affect their education.

Kiberu said some other stakeholders like Straight Talk Foundation and some politicians are teaming up to award the best performing candidates in PLE.

The School Advocacy Clubs, according to Kiberu, go to the community and look for children who have dropped out of school, use music, dance and drama and take part in go back to school campaigns.

The School Advocacy Clubs continuously sensitise parents on the danger of early marriages, teenage pregnancies and HIV/AIDS as essential services to reduce their vulnerability.

They also promote peer groups networks and rapid response clubs and strengthening hygiene and sanitation in schools.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

I am a celebrate – Yohana

 By Hope Mafaranga

 When   Saturday Vision published my story, it never occurred to me that it will lead me to meet the president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, nor did it cross my mind that I will go back to Kampala after 50 years, Yohana Ahuruma 131, who recently met President Museveni.
I never imagined the impact of a newspaper.  In fact now I treasure newspapers more than anything, unfortunately my eyes are gone and I can’t read.
The first time Saturday Vision visited and asked me about my age, I did not take it serious and my follow locals here in Busunga village, Bundibugyo district wondered how a national newspaper could visit a poor person like me.
But now my friends wish to be published in the papers after seeing it is impact.
 News of meeting the president
When Fr. Bainekanama broke the good news that I was slated to meet the President,  I got mixed feelings.
  One of the things that came into my mind was that may be I was going to be arrested another on the other hand I was filled with a lot of joy.
Fr. Bainekanama told me to get ready but I never believed him, it was like a dream. In fact I spent three nights playing my endigigi (musical bow) and thanking God for remembering me and also giving me another opportunity to go back to Buganda (Kampala).
My daughter had to force me to go to bed but could not sleep because of too much excitement.
 How he prepared
 I started preparing myself for the journey of course I wanted to look my best before the president. I never risked to allow anyone wash my clothes and my shoes, I decided to do it myself to ensure they were clean enough and presentable in front of the president.
I washed my coat, my trouser, my shirt and I even cleaned my Ndingidi and stick because I wanted to dance and sing for the president.
However I was still doubtful if it was true that I was going to meet the president.  Finally the big day came and Fr. Bainekanama came to pick me.
The journey
Everything looked new to me from the roads and the buildings. I knew it would take us five months to get to Kampala but was shocked when we only spent about 7 hours on our way.
In 1966 when I was last in Buganda, it used to take us three to five month to get there but this time around it was like we flew from Bundibugyo to Entebbe.
Getting to state house
We were ushered into a big room with nice looking chairs, the place looked like heaven.   We were given tea and bread, soda, water and every I wished to eat and drink was there and workers were at our disposal to serve us.
 Later we were taken to a house (hotel) where we spent three days waiting to see the president.     My granddaughter you do not know how I felt, the bed was big, warm and every day they changed my beddings.
If it was not for the New Vision, where on earth would I have gotten to see such clean room and knit beddings?
Even the time I used to work in the Kabaka’s palace, I swear I never saw this kind of a bed.
 Every morning, I   was served with good breakfast, good food and that there was a large television in my bed room   and in the place where we used to eat from. I thought I was in heaven.             
Meeting the president
We were picked from our hotel and taken to his house.  Museveni was elected by God to rule Uganda.   We found him there and his lovely wife Janet waiting for us.
My dear, the president stood up to greet me and his well-behaved wife followed.  The president even showed me where to sit.
 I swear he treated me with a lot of respect and as his grandfather.  This moved me and I held my rosary and thanked God for the New Vision.
 After sitting down, in shot while they brought tea and bread and we ate. We starting talking and I found him a very interesting man and his wife was always smiling.
 He asked about my age, my background and we talked for more than two hours. I cannot explain to you to understand how I felt and the time the president accorded us.
 One thing I realised was that both Museveni and his wife were brought up very well.  I was surprised by there to down to earth character; imagine his wife even tapped my shoulder.
Despite my toothless mouth and struggling to talk they showed me love, respect and listened attentively and patiently to every word I had to say. You don’t understand the feeling my child.
We discussed many things including the Rwenzururu issues and the president was so much informed and everything I told him.  We spoke like old friends.
 After two hours,   we were taken to another sitting room and the president and his wife came back to bid us farewell.  The president asked me what my heart desired; I simply told him that I wanted him to build for me a house which he granted. 
We were driven back to our hotel and the following day we left.
 Going back
I was given a hero welcome back home and of course I had to show off that I am from seeing the president. I had brought a bag of sugar, a box of soap and rice and I shared with neighbors.
 That  night I knelt down , held my rosary , I prayed for the president and his family for long life, I prayed for the New Vision that  wrote about me because if  you had not written about me the president would not have known me.
I even asked God to forgive me all my sins because after leaving Museveni’s house, I felt Holy.  I wish to campaign for him and vote him if he stands again.  I also pray that I meet him again and I  will request him for a car and a driver.
 I am grateful to Fr. Bainakanama and the New Vision.   Since then, many people come to see me and give me some money.