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School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

The practice of hand washing and social distancing is wanting in premises providing essential services

Posted on : Thursday, April 2, 2020

Dr. Esther Buregyeya

By Dr Esther Buregyeya, MakSPH

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Uganda, the Ministry of Health gave out a list of control measures including regular hand washing. There have been a number of presidential directives in trying to contain the outbreak, with the latest being lockdown and only leaving essential services such as food markets, super markets, pharmacies and banks operating.

I have liked the way some of these places have embraced the practice of hand washing, with every entrance having hand washing facilities. However, it is assumed that us the customers walking in are the only ones that should wash hands the service providers in these premises don’t bather to sanitize their hands. For example, the cashiers given that they handle money from every customer (and money is one of the dirtiest things), they would need to be washing their hands after every customer to minimize contamination. Also, it has been observed that recommended social distancing (atleast 2m) between the cashier and in between customers is not observed. 

I would like to appeal to the owners of facilities/premises, and  all the people working in these places to observe regular hand washing, preferably every after serving a customer with alcohol hand rub, for their own safety and safety of the public. In addition, let us practice social (4 meters) distancing while in these premises to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Remember, even people with no symptoms of COVID-19, do transmit the virus. So as you crowd around people, you could be exposing yourself. It is everyone’s responsibility to stay safe!


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