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The diocesan headquarters are located at Ruharo 3 kilometers from Mbarara town on the Mbarara – Bushenyi highway.

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RE-OPENING OF ECONOMY AND THIRD WAVE; THE COST OF WISDOM

Rt.Rev.Dr.Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa

What is very clear is that a few people have been lucky to detect Covid-19 in good time, the majority especially the unvaccinated, tend to discover it when it is too late. If there is a ‘commodity’ more valuable than oil, gold or money, it is wisdom! Wisdom simply defined is judgment between right and wrong. Wisdom is closely inter-linked with making a choice out of several alternatives. The Cambridge dictionary defines wisdom as, ‘The ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments. It is not surprising, that the proverbial King Solomon is famed for having asked right when God offered him a chance (1Kings 3). God’s open cheque to Solomon was written on, wisdom. The President of the Republic of Uganda announced the full re-opening of the economy at a time when cases of Covid-19 were soaring as reported in the media. After two years of lockdown with its attendant adverse effects on social and economic lives of the people, there is no way he was going to announce another lockdown. He reiterated  his message on the need for vaccination, extreme caution as exemplified by reference to his staff, some of whom put on masks in his presence and lower their guards when back-doors thus falling prey to the virus. The message was succinct and it was that personal responsibility and choice was paramount n keeping the virus at bay. Was this a message striking the chord for majority Ugandans? Not at all! Even prior to re-opening the economy it was increasingly becoming difficult to convince people that Covid-19 still existed and was virulent. Many young men have more or less held a slogan “cow boys never die” but they forget that in some modern movies star characters die! At parties you often see women taking every opportunity to remove their masks to put on display their beautiful faces. Remember even when vaccinated Covid-19 can catch and trouble you, it may even lead to severe disease or death. According to a post circulating on social media attributed to a senior physician at Mulago Hospital , it refers to a dire situation of patients being rushed in, with end stage Covid-19, and dying in minutes, apparently from the Delta virus. The biggest challenge to-date is that the doubting Thomases of vaccines still abound.Sadly the most affected cohort is the elderly. In a space of about one month, I have personally experienced fives cases of Covid-19 with two male adults aged 60 years and three elderly women of 74, 93 and 105.The common denominator among the five is that they were un-vaccinated. One of the intriguing cases was of an asthmatic woman who was advised against vaccination yet such vulnerable people are a priority for vaccination. Another old lady had argued that since she was confined to her back yard in the home, there is no way Covid-19 could get to her. Sadly, perhaps she contracted the virus from her own children, or, grandchildren whom she could have deemed safe. Being unvaccinated is a risky and irresponsible choice according to Prof. Peter Singer professor of Bio ethics at Princeton University. Prof. Singer decried the cost of the unvaccinated on the vaccinated.Dr Rob Davidson, a physician referred to the overburdened health care system in Michigan by the unvaccinated who constitute 98 percent of Covid-19 cases. This had resulted in indirect death of many with other emergency ailments but who could not access critical care due to un-vaccinated Covid-19 cases occupying beds. According to Prof Singer it was time to enact a policy to give priority to the vaccinated over the unvaccinated since the latter are making choices that are harming the former.Currently I know not less than 40 people who are vaccinated and have had break through infections but are steadily recovering or recovered. I know a handful of cases of people who were unvaccinated, got Covid-19 and shook it off with recommended drugs by physicians. What I may not know is the long term effects of Covid-19 on an un-vaccinated person even if he shakes it off, much as we muse over the long term effects of vaccines, on the vaccinated.What is very clear is that a few people have been lucky to detect Covid-19 in good time, the majority especially the unvaccinated, tend to discover it when it is too late. Wisdom comprises knowledge and it matters who your sources are; wisdom constitutes experience and this is data we encounter on daily basis; wisdom is anchored in choice.  It is incumbent upon us to choose wisely how to reconcile a fully re-opened economy with a surging Covid-19 third wave, since we can never escape the consequences of our choices.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa smwesigwafred@gmail.com

Bishop Ankole Diocese & Chancellor Bishop Stuart University

Published in the NewVision, January 31, 2022 and  the Daily Monitor, January 28,2022

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