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1,000 Ugandan Teachers Have Died Since Last Year – UNATU

The teacher's body says that their records point to HIV, cancer, high blood pressure, mental illnesses, and suicide as the common causes of death among teachers. But UNATU Chairman Zaddock Tumuhimbise says that the deaths are mainly a result of frustration and poverty, among teachers.
Teachers at the 2nd National Primary Teacher's Conference

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Uganda has lost more than 1,000 teachers in less than two years, according to the Uganda National Teachers Union-UNATU.  Records show that of these, 615 teachers died in 2018 while another 400 lives have been lost this year.  

The highest number of deaths was registered in the South Western and the Northern parts of the country, where close to 100 teachers have died in each of the regions. The lowest number of deaths were recorded in Karamoja and Teso regions in and North Eastern and Eastern Uganda, respectively.  

The teacher's body says that their records point to HIV, cancer, high blood pressure, mental illnesses, and suicide as the common causes of death among teachers. But UNATU Chairman Zaddock Tumuhimbise says that the deaths are mainly a result of frustration and poverty, among teachers.  

“Many of the teachers are dying due to the hard-working conditions and limited financial empowerment. What teachers earn is not enough to treat some of these illnesses and as such end by dying,” Tumuhimbise says. He, however, adds that the teacher's body would carry out a study to ascertain the exact triggers of the conditions that are sending teachers to the grave. 

Filbert Baguma, the General Secretary of Uganda National Teachers Union says that they had never noticed the numbers until the union centralized the payment of condolences to its members.  

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According to air quality research carried out by the Taiwan Association for Aerosol Research in 2015, exposing teachers and learners to chalk dust can lead to scarring of the lungs which cause respiratory complications like pulmonary fibroids and bronchial hyperactivity.    

Sam Kuloba, the commissioner of Secondary schools at the education ministry says that he has been concerned about the number of teachers that seem to be dying. “We have noticed that a good number of teachers are dying. We want to look into it and try and find out why so many teachers are dying.” 

According to the education ministry, there are more than 180,000 teachers in Uganda.