Uganda Alliance of Patients' Organizations - Awareness raising for preventing COVID-19
It was so exciting and gratifying to be part of IAPO’s COVID-19 Response Activity scheme in 2020.
Despite the global increase in COVID-19 burden, Uganda Alliance of Patients' Organizations (UAPO), with the support of IAPO’s COVID-19 grant, endeavored to respond by increasing awareness among its members and the general public, and encouraging adherence to the recommended standard operating procedures’ in preventing COVID-19 spread.
UAPO aimed at creating platforms that enhance prevention strategies focused on reducing exposure to the known risk factors, coupled with reducing stigma and dispelling myth and misconceptions about the COVID-19 pandemic. We noticed that limited awareness plays an important role in perpetuating the prevalence of, and fostering myths, about COVID-19. UAPO also aimed at ensuring that patients and the community understand, and are able to seek health care for the related diseases, as well as be able to demand for appropriate care and information from healthcare providers.
Awareness creation begins when accurate and understandable information is put together for public consumption. The gap of low levels of appropriate information needs to be bridged. Treatment being the first line of response in epidemic control, directly focuses on patients. As such, putting together relevant, easy-to-understand, and culturally appropriate information relating to patients and their care givers was an immediate priority.
Printing and disseminating COVID-19 education information materials specific to primary prevention was an assurance of impacting on significant number of patients and the communities. This boosted knowledge levels to over 100,000 patients in our reach and the community around them, enabling them to make better health decisions that minimize exposure to infection and risk factors.
Progressively, more effort is required to connect and support an expansive national network of patient leaders dedicated to accelerating patient advocacy aimed at treatment, prevention and cure, while prioritizing the promotion of research and best practices in care and treatment of all diseases and conditions in all health care settings and the community.
The observable increase in COVID-19 spread in Uganda and the in world over, and challenges inflicted on humans, calls for a global effort to scale up awareness raising and education. We must continue to work towards supporting families facing other diseases and lifelong conditions, and further the promotion of disease research. Supporting our communities nurtures our critical national leadership in the fight to promote critical disease prevention.
The year 2021 and other years to come require concerted efforts to face the challenges and maximize on opportunities, enabling partnerships with the global community to avail enough COVID-19 preventive items.
We thank our collaborating institutions namely: Ministry of Health, Makerere University School of Public Health, Capital City Authority, and all our patient groups subscribing to UAPO for their participation.
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