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Milestone Alert: KIU School of Nursing Wins COVID-19 Innovation and Sustainability Award for Making Face Masks

Milestone Alert: KIU School of Nursing Wins COVID-19 Innovation and Sustainability Award for Making Face Masks

KIU, Western Campus – The KIU School of Nursing Sciences (SON) has been awarded the African Action Network (AAN) for Nurses and Midwives Award for Innovation and Sustainability in Health Worker Safety.

The Award, which was presented in a Zoom ceremony held in the Staff Common Room at KIU Western Campus, was given to the School for their efforts in making over 130,000 cloth face masks which were distributed to various health centres in the Western region of Uganda.

The venture was a result of a partnership between SON, AAN and the textile department of KIU Western Campus. AAN provided funds for procuring cloth material to make the masks as well as transport for delivering the masks to the different hospitals including Hoima Regional Referral Hospital, Buliisa District Hospital, Bwera and Kagando Hospitals in Kasese district, Bushenyi district headquarters as well as KIU Teaching Hospital.

Gracing the ceremony via Zoom, Judith Oulton and Linda carrier Walker from AAN hailed KIU’s Nursing School for their innovative and timely venture.

“COVID-19 caused significant stress to the health sector in Africa and we were all trying to get ahead of the virus. KIU’s School of Nursing ensured that nurses and midwives and other health workers had access to adequate PPE,” Oulton said.

“We were impressed with your research into the impact of cloth face masks and we urge you to rise above your seriousness with this project,” Carrier Walker said.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor for KIU Western Campus, Prof. Patrick Kyamanywa, who also graced the ceremony via Zoom, said the school had done the university proud.

“We are proud of your exemplary leadership and joining the COVID-19 struggle. COVID is here for a long time and we should go beyond the initial momentum and look at sustainability because no one knows when this (COVID-19) will end,” Prof Kyamanywa said.

He also requested AAN to continue with their support because there is a possibility of another wave of the spread of COVID-19 as a result of relaxing of lockdowns around the continent.

“We have no timeline for a vaccine and AAN should support us in the sustainability phase of the cloth face mask making project,” he added.

Annet Kabanyoro, the Dean School of Nursing Sciences was all smiles and praises for her students under their umbrella organization Uganda National Association of Student Nurses and Midwives (UNASNAM) KIU Branch.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for face masks was high and there were glaring gaps in the supply chain. UNASNAM partnered with the textile department and made consultation with professionals on the type of cloth we could use. As a result of our efforts, we were able to produce 130,000 cloth face masks which we delivered to various hospitals,” Kabanyoro revealed.

“We also made around 3,700 masks which we delivered to the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau and we hope that the Uganda National Bureau of Standards gives us approval to make more cloth face masks for the public,” she added.

The ceremony was also graced by the Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Finance and Administration at KIU, Western Campus, Prof Lydia Emuron, the Associate Dean School of Nursing, Christine Namigadde, the KIU Western Campus Administrator, Juliet Ampaire, the UNASNAM President Khalifan Wesonga and Nursing and Midwifery Students.

Picture credit: KIU School of Nursing Sciences