Covid-19: Medics, cleric urge govt to fully open up places of worship

Covid-19: Medics, cleric urge govt to fully open up places of worship
Covid-19: Medics, cleric urge govt to fully open up places of worship

Africa-PressUganda. Medical doctors and a cleric, have urged government to fully open up places of worship, reasoning that the same institutions, offer psychiatric solace to those who have developed mental health challenges brought about by Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Doreen Kanyesigye, a mental health advocate, narrated her own story of how she went through a lot of challenges in life including divorce and that she was able to find hope in the local church.

“If you look at the amount of child abuse, more than 11,000 cases have since been reported and psychiatrics say when someone is going through stress, community institutions like places of worship and schools help but the very institutions have been declared non-essential,” Ms Kanyesigye said on Monday morning.

Adding: “Around 2013, I went through difficult challenges like divorce, being a single mother, and I hardly had any money. The only place I turned to was places of worship. Why is government continuing to close on these places or reopening them partially when they play such a big role in preventing mental health, why, why?.”

Ms Kanyesigye and a group of other experts, were speaking on Monday morning during a webinar dubbed “medical practice and Covid-19, is Uganda on the right course”.

Dr Clara Wekesa, a physician, argued that cases of mental health have since shot up because of Covid-19 pandemic that has since seen youths committing suicide, being depressed before blaming the continued closure of places of worship on the same emerging health issues.

“We should stop saying places of worship are non-essential. I think places of worship create that atmosphere to solve such issues.” Dr Wekesa said.

“To front mass vaccination as the silver bullet for curbing on the spread of Covid-19 virus is wrong. We have seen countries like USA, UK going into mass vaccination but they are now turning to natural immunity.” She added.

Likewise, Bishop Wisdom K. Peter, a Christian minister and a biotechnologist, wondered why there is a lot of discrimination by government when it comes in the area of fully opening places of worship.

He gave an example of shopping arcades, open markets and down town places like Kikuubo with hundreds or even thousands of people on a daily basis but they are never capped and yet the places of worship can’t have more than 200 worshipers at any given service.

“Churches are controlled not to have not more than 200 worshipers but places like Kikuubo, shopping arcades and open markets are not and yet, they have many people. Why does government discriminate us this much.?” Bishop Wisdom asked.

He went on to urge government not to be over restrictive and reopen up the economy fully like Tanzania that did not even undergo any lockdown and yet no catastrophe happened to them.

President Museveni reopened places of worship on September 22 after being closed for 60 days following a second wave of Covid-19 lockdown.

However, the head of state directed that besides the worshipers observing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), there should not exceed 200 at any given service. He argued that places of worship are crowd pullers and can in turn be super spreaders of Covid-19 virus.

Dr Lina Zedriga, the Vice president of opposition for National Unity Platform (NUP), during the same webinar, said the fight against Covid-19 has been militarised and monetarised by government.

She went on to urge Ugandans to speak out and not to fold their hands and hide in a closet because even in there, they will come for them.

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