BY DOREEN KAJERU
As Uganda marked her 54th independence anniversary on October 9 this year, Uganda Christian University commenced the Health Awareness Week under the theme, “Your lifestyle and your health: are you in control?”
The week, which was spearheaded by the Counselling department supported by Allan Galpin Healthcare Centre, focused on addressing issues of alcohol and other drug use sensitization.
Topics of discussion included the impact of alcohol and other drugs, the role of the family in helping addicts, overcoming addiction, addictions and your health, hope after dependence and the impact of addiction on work efficiency. A number of people who had previously been addicted shared their testimonies with the community.
Some of the speakers included Vice Chancellor John Senyonyi, Dr Ruth Senyonyi, Dr Geoffrey Mulindwa, Dr Gooreka Okahaabwa and Ezra Napoleon, the counsellor in charge of alcohol and other drugs.
Others were drug addiction counsellor, Mr Grace Bikumbi from Butabika Hospital, and experts from Nakasero Hospital, Uganda Red Cross Society and the Uganda Counselling Association whose staff were stationed at hostels and at different halls of residence, to offer advice and answer any questions the students had.
Teaching and guidance were offered during community worship, and at the netball court where counselling and other services were provided. These included blood donation, counselling and testing for breast cancer, dental check-up, tetanus vaccines, measuring of the body mass index, as well as counselling and testing for HIV.
Richard Bwire, a counsellor at the university, said that the week was a success because the main aim of drug sensitization was achieved.
“The information about alcohol and other drug abuse was shared vastly through the different platforms. I believe that there was great impact on the student community because staff from the counselling department moved around from hostel to hall of residence sensitizing students.”
Bishop James William Sebaggala of Mukono Diocese was represented by his wife, Mrs Tezirah Sebaggala as the chief blood donor, and she thanked UCU for the efforts put into extending health services to the student community.
“It is right and fitting and also timely because we need to be up to date with our health. The community should engage more in donating blood to save lives.
“Faith without action is dead. When the community gives to save a life, that is faith put into action. So each of us should strive to save the many people that need our blood,” she said.
She added that there is a great need for blood donation in the country, given that many people are involved in accidents and mothers die during child birth due to the scarcity of blood in blood banks.
“Let us all donate blood so that there is enough to save a lives,” she concluded.
The Health Awareness Week was conducted according to 1 Corinthins 6:19, which says in part that, “… your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.”