The unnoticed impact of COVID-19

As I sit home and watch the news, it is just striking to me that all of this news coverage is really missing the mark because no one is talking about thousands of young people who lost jobs, small businesses and the impact like mental illness, depression, frustrations, domestic violence. 

Yes, the country has never felt this way. Not after Kony abduction. Not even after Idi Amin took overpower. It’s acutely different

No one saw this coming, everyone turned on the news only to learn that there is a new virus called COVID-19, people are dying in other countries and in Uganda, we are still very lucky, and 89% of the coverage is about COVID-19 updates which are true and okay.

The question is; where are young people’s challenges in the total lockdown? where are those stories of human rights violations? how are young people accessing contraceptives and health services? Are women safe working from home with husbands watching? Pregnant mothers are missing antenatal appointments because of no means of transport

In this time of uncertainty, different people across the country have expressed concerns for the impact of COVID19 on the economy of the country and the government is not paying attention to young people especially vulnerable women, girls, pregnant mothers, young people who are sexually active, the increase of domestic violence and young people living with HIV

The fact is that the coronavirus pandemic is taking us a step back and teaching everyone especially people in power to start planning for the future and redefining the programs that favour young people (the poor) in such calamities

We all doing what the government wants us to do, doing social distancing, washing hands, staying at home and self-isolation. Is it hard to do? Yes or maybe not depending on your economic status

To a rich kid, the lockdown is nothing to him/her because they have been used to such life in their homes and as a young person who is on the survival in the streets of Kampala, can’t tell how much it has affected me and other thousands of hustlers, unemployed youths, vulnerable women, girls, persons with disabilities and young people living with HIV

With 53 new cases of COVID19 in Uganda, the ongoing COVID19 pandemic poses an unprecedented challenge and this should be an eye-opener to everyone in the systems. As the government marching to safeguard the people, and economic sphere, the truth is they have forgotten about all these issues; domestic violence, mental illness, depression, stress, human right violations

From the President’s directives, we have all resorted to imposing social distancing and other measures to stop the spread of the virus. It is important that the government take timely and informed decisions to address the income generation for young people and address some of the hardships that young people are silently suffering from

You step in the city and you start reflecting on how many young people have been chasing their dreams. Hustling on the streets. Beating the odds. Challenging their limits and COVID-19, Presidents directives have flatlined everything

So the majority are now silently hostile with their personal spaces. They have resorted to selfish behaviours around food, water, electricity and supplies. We look with suspicion on those wearing masks, those not wearing masks. We judge. We don’t make eye contact and a smile is out of the question

Now is the time to come together as human beings and hurt together. Release it together. Heal together. Hope together. Survive together and we are all here, let us do our best to stay brave and positive   

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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

One Comment

  1. Aijuka D Reply

    Good analysis. Talk about young people living with HIV, are they able to access their drugs? What about PWDs especially those with mental issues and those who are deaf blind, those with motor challenges among others.

    We also have expectant mothers especially those in deep villages, they must be praying to God to kindly extend the DoD.

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