In an effort to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic in Uganda, a group of Medical Students from KIU Western Campus under an umbrella organization called “Wake Up Youths Africa” translated COVID-19 awareness information from the Ministry of Health and other reputable health agencies into five local languages.
These include,Nicholas Wamala Kisaakye, Mark Kunihira and Edward Katende, all medical students at KIU Western Campus, developed this initiative after a survey they did in 5 communities showed that people understood their local languages more than English.
“We translate information from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centre For Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and the Ministry of Health into 5 local languages, Lhukonzo, Samia, Runyakitara, Luganda and Langi,” says Nicholas Kisaakye Wamala (in the picture), one of the co-founders of Wake Up Youths Africa.
“We reach out to peoples’ homes, utilize community mast speakers, their social media platforms and text messages for sensitization on COVID-19 as a tool to combat misinformation,” adds Mark Kunihira, another co-founder of the organization.
The group received a major boost when they won a mini-grant from Peace First, a youth championing organization which accelerated their efforts of breaking myths, decreasing stigma and discrimination in communities, factors which usually cause anxiety, fear and depression – the major mental health complications among people in Uganda.
The grant enabled them to extend their activities to distributing face masks which they are currently doing in Bweyogerere, Kira municipality where they have given free masks to some of the poorest households in the area.
According to Edward Katende, also part of the trio, Wake Up Youths Africa is a medical students volunteer initiative championing for youth friendly services such as Social Reproductive Health and Rights, fighting against HIV/AIDS among others with a mission to counteract the present burden of communicable diseases and the emerging burden of non-communicable diseases towards ending poverty by 2030.