Our Global Voices Posts
When I heard COVID-19 was spreading around the world, I struggled personally, knowing we would be responding for a long time. I needed a silver lining to keep me grounded and give me hope so that I could focus on helping my country.
As COVID-19 spread across Europe, it was clear that COVID-19 was going to be a very different threat to Uganda. It was not like Zika or Ebola, with African names that Ugandans were familiar with. This was the pandemic the world has always feared but was not prepared for. But, for me, the silver lining was that the virus had not yet arrived in Uganda and we had some time to prepare.
Each outbreak prepares us for the next one as we build new skills and apply them. Each response builds on the next, and responding to outbreaks is a never ending task for public health workers. This became very evident as we were working Ebola and along came COVID-19.
I proudly serve as a first responder on the National Rapid Response Team, under Uganda’s National Task Force. I watch for signs of emergencies and prepare to take the call and respond immediately. Our team is trained and prepared to support all aspects of a public health response, including quickly identifying cases, tracing contacts, collecting and analyzing data, collecting and testing samples, and making recommendations for public health action. My CDC team works closely with the government of Uganda and other partners.
But my team also had concerns about getting sick with COVID-19, which added to the stress of working on an emergency response. We were all concerned for our friends and our family, so the pandemic was deeply personal to us. I worried about my wife, children, siblings, parents, and my workmates. I was dealing with a lockdown, a new team, and new habits, like wearing masks. Juggling personal concerns and a demanding, stressful job was one of the biggest challenges I have faced. However, years of training and responding to emergencies made me better prepared to respond to the pandemic and gave me some hope, my silver lining.
My team kept me strong and motivated. Ugandans are a resourceful, resilient, and united people. Our resilience allows us to continue to this fight for our communities. Together, the country has worked to slow the spread of COVID-19 and made our job of managing COVID-19 possible.
This pandemic has taught me how important it is to take care of myself. I make it a priority to stay active. When I can, I wander off to become a better animal keeper and enjoy nature. I have also learned to focus on things that I had once forgotten, including a few old house projects.
This pandemic is affecting everyone. My family and I continue to take measures to protect ourselves from COVID-19. We wash our hands often and wear masks around others. We have avoided crowds, social events, and other activities that involve close contact. I haven’t even been to the barber since the pandemic began. Keeping social connections is important, so we talk a lot to family members virtually. Technology has allowed us and the world to stay connected.
Ugandans continue to survive and our community stays strong. We will survive this pandemic. Maybe that’s the ultimate silver lining.Posted on by
I have seen many important and positive changes around Chagas disease awareness, diagnosis, and treatment over the past few years, but there is still much to do. Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Chagas disease is usually spread by triatomine bugs but can also be spread by an infected mother to her unborn baby. It can lead to serious heart disease and, less often, Read More >Posted on by
When I first heard COVID-19 was spreading around the world, my initial thought was, “This will be contained.” I started feeling unsettled watching the virus give us a hint of its power as it breeched more and more borders. I never imagined that it would cause havoc at the scale it did. I wanted to Read More >Posted on by
Rachael’s work in Bangladesh took place August – September 2019, before COVID-19 emerged. The setting was ideal. We were on the top floor of a hotel where a training was being held in the Fall of 2019. Our chairs overlooked the expansive beach of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh and we had just finished a light snack Read More >Posted on by
As a health communication responder, my first thought when I heard of COVID-19 was, “What can I do to help? How can I be a part of the emergency response happening with such a novel disease?” After CDC activated its Emergency Operation Center in January 2020, I worked with my supervisor to secure a spot Read More >Posted on by
I’ve worked as a health communication specialist on the COVID-19 response for the past year. In Japan, I translated CDC guidance into plain language so Americans quarantined on a cruise ship would understand the information needed to board a U.S. flight home. In Atlanta, I managed the process to publish international guidance on the CDC Read More >Posted on by
This year, 2020, the world is commemorating the 40-year anniversary of the declaration of the eradication of smallpox. Considered to be the greatest achievement in international public health to date, we have many lessons learned from this monumental achievement that today’s public health professionals can apply to current and future disease outbreak efforts across the Read More >Posted on by
For as long as people have lived with – and in close proximity to – animals, the benefit of that reality has come with a serious trade-off… the potential for disease. That reality also explains why a One Health approach is used at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and minimize the Read More >Posted on by
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a series of unique structural, logistical, and program challenges related to routine HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services in Tanzania. To better protect healthcare workers and people living with HIV (PLHIV), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Government of Tanzania (GoT), non-governmental partners, and healthcare facilities Read More >Posted on by
How is COVID-19 testing conducted in Namibia? Namibia is using semi-automated and automated platforms to conduct viral tests for COVID-19 (molecular real time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR]). Testing is conducted at the government laboratories (Namibia Institute of Pathology), as well as at the University of Namibia, and in the private sector (Pathcare and a Read More >Posted on by