UCU takes health awareness to Mukono market
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/08/ucu-takes-health-awareness-to-mukono-market/
By Douglas Olum
The Kame Valley Market, also known as Kikko, is the main market in Mukono District. It is located northeast of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) main campus, and it is where most university staff and non-resident students go to buy fresh foods like vegetables, fruits, cassava, potatoes, fish and many others.
The market sits in a valley, with an open drainage line carrying both rain and waste water from restaurants passing through its midst, to join a nearby swamp.With a population of more than 2,500 traders, most of the businesses are under make-shift structures and umbrellas due to limited structures.
Because of its setting and large population, the market chokes in filth as the traders do not have any designated area to throw their wastes. Many times, they fill them in sacks and hide them under their stalls. Others even spread them along the tiny walk paths, thereby attracting a swarm of flies to feast on the decaying matter,yet they even have cooked food vendors among them. They buy and have their meals from the stalls. This kind of practice exposes the entire population to the risk of acquiring hygiene related diseases like cholera.
On Wednesday July 23, the UCU Health and Safety Committee mobilized students and staff to carry out an outreach at this market as part of their activities for the Health Awareness Week that ran from Sunday July 21 to Friday July 26.
The students and staff swept the market, sensitized the traders about a wide range of diseases, filled potholes that were holding stagnant water around the market,and also collected wastes and piled them at an accessible point for final collection.
Racheal Nakamya, the UCU Allan Galpin Health Centre Administrator, who coordinated the activity said they decided to extend the health awareness to the market in line with the UCU core value of servanthood.
“We need to reach out and support the community around us as a way of giving back to them,” Nakamya said.
Geoffrey Serunjogi, the chairperson of the Market Vendors Association said the activity was a great relief to them because the market had already choked in filth for more than a week following the breaking down of the Municipal Truck that usually carries the wastes.
Serunjogi said even when the truck was there, many times the market is not properly cleaned because there are only three cleaners employed to serve the entire market.
Zainah Nakibilango, the area councilor for Mukono Central Division, said she was impressed to see the students stoop that low to touch the dirt in the market with their hands because she believed university students were members of the upper class in society who do not do such dirty works.
Violet Baluka, a vendor in the market appreciated the students and staff over the level of discipline and spirit of hard work exhibited.
“They have done a more thorough cleaning than what the people employed to do the same job do and yet they remained very polite, unlike the cleaners who normally arrogantly bark at us and yet still do shoddy work. I am so grateful, and I pray that God should bless them,” Baluka said.
Health Awareness is an activity that is carried out in UCU once every semester. During the Health Awareness Week,health experts from the university’s Allan Galpin Health Centre usually sensitize the university community about various health issues and best practices. This semester’s week ran under the theme: Am I doing enough to live healthy? Apart from the outreach, other activities carried out include: cervical cancer screening, blood donation, aerobic activities, HIV testing and counselling, and Hepatitis B testing and vaccination. The services are mostly offered free of charge or at subsidized price for all students and staff.
More information about Uganda Christian University can be obtained at http://ucu.ac.ug/.
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