Kampala, Uganda | URN | Members of Parliament (MPs) want a public holiday declared so as to scale up vaccination of learners in order to achieve the vaccination target required to reopen schools.
The MPs on the Parliamentary Forum on Children noted that the prolonged lockdown on schools has exacerbated cases of defilement, teenage pregnancy and acute malnutrition.
The forum together with the National Children Authority addressed a press conference at Parliament on Thursday 30, September 2021 and rallied teachers and non-teaching staff to heed to the ongoing mass vaccination of teachers in order to fast track the reopening of schools.
They launched a three months campaign which will be rolled out across the country to promote vaccine uptake of teachers and students.
In efforts to step up vaccination, the MPs have urged the government to declare a public holiday or two days for mass vaccination. They believe it will not only scale up vaccination but also save vaccines from expiring.
Flavia Kabahenda, the Woman MP Kyegegwa says setting aside a time to mobilize Ugandans on vaccination would be a good move if the country is to fight COVID-19 and have the country open up.
Kabahenda urged teachers to go for vaccination to enable quick opening of schools, saying home is not safe as well.
She said girls where being defiled, citing a case in Kabarole district where a 14 year old girl recently gave birth to a baby boy after being defiled by the father.
Margaret Makhoha, chairperson Uganda Parliamentary forum for children also downplayed government efforts to distribute home learning materials, saying the materials did not reach the children, but also that home schooling cannot work with parents who are uneducated.
The executive director of National Children’s Authority Martin Kiiza says the lockdown on schools has contributed to the increased cases of defilement with 14,000 cases registered since last year.
Government plans to open schools in January next year.