By Ivan Naijuka
The Advent (September) Health Awareness Week started on an encouraging note this week with staff and students applauding the initiative as pertinent to their wellbeing. The students and staff see the health awareness week as a demonstration of the Universities’ concern for their welfare. “These services are really useful, I wouldn’t go to hospital for breast cancer screening, but here you go as a group, before you realize, you are already worked on. We really appreciate,” said Mary Cynthia Rukundo Cynthia, a second year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Mass communication
Similarly, Ms. Christine Buhule said that the services are cost saving to the beneficiaries, “You cannot get these services elsewhere for free. Just imagine; deworming, cervical cancer screening, tetanus immunization, hepatitis B and others. They are very expensive. Now that we have them here, we should make good use of them,” she said imploring staff and students to partake of the services.
This semester’s health sensitization week is held under the theme; “Remember your Future depends on your Health.”
According to Dr. Geoffrey Mulindwa, the Director Medical Services at UCU, the Health Awareness Week is guided by the trends of health in the UCU community, “We have many students and staff suffering from non-communicable diseases like; high blood pressure, heart conditions, cancer among others. And all these are attributed to life style of the people,” he said.
The week is thus dedicated to helping students and staff members on health related decisions, issues and promoting awareness of the non-communicable diseases through campaign.
Dr. Mulindwa says that the university desires a heath student and staff population if it is to achieve its collective goals. The UCU Strategic Plan identifies meeting of physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the community as key to the University’s success.
When you have a community with all such complications and you don’t mind about it, it ends up being costly in long run, “Students will start missing classes, staff members don’t teach-and all those, are related to stress and the non-communicable diseases they would be suffering from but shy to say them”, says Dr. Mulindwa. This semester’s Health Awareness Week focused on blood pressure, Body mass index, dental and optical health, HIV & Hepatitis B blood statuses, common cancer like cervical and breast cancer in both men and women, prostate cancer blood donation and medical male circumcision.
Dr. Mulindwa further adds that data collected shows that there are students and staff who are either underweight or obese and some grossly obese with Body Mass Index (BMI) raging between 14 -50. During the Health Awareness Week, HAW, experts with experience are invited at to talk to the whole community by encouraging, screening and immunizing those found in need of the services. The health awareness week happens every semester at both main and Kampala campus.