Rehema Namaganda Bavuma

My name is Rehema Namaganda Bavuma, I have a BA in Development Studies and an MA in Social Sector Planning. I am now a PhD fellow at Makerere University. The COVID-19 situation in Uganda has improved. We hear of less people dying, at least not like before. This was different a few months ago; you would wake up every morning, check your phone and see that in every WhatsApp group a person had died or a relative had died – and you wished that you hadn’t looked at your phone or wished you wouldn’t go online. There was a lot of tension. The numbers are going down at the moment and the lockdown is slowly being lifted. People are now struggling with the consequences of the lockdown. People have lost their business and jobs. People have difficulties to get back to their businesses, because they used their money/capital to live through the lockdown. We have started to share food in our communities with friends, neighbours and sometimes relatives. 

In this project I am interested in various things. I am curious on why people seem to fear testing, while at the same time they go for testing out of curiosity. Why some want to know their status, while others prefer not know? Those who go for testing are relieved when the result turns out to be negative.

In spite of the curiosity, there is fear what happens after the knowing. Some people have so far told me thatthey would take the necessary measures, like stay at home, if they were tested positive. Given the fact that lockdown has just been lifted and everyone wants to work and get over the economic hardships brought by the lockdown, will anyone voluntarily agree to stay home? Given the stigma that comes with other people knowing you as a COVID-19 patient, will people disclose their status and isolate themselves? Especially at this moment when the economy is open, transport is open? It is difficult to imagine how one would behave now if they tested positive for COVID-19.I hope to find out more about this in our research.