Coronavirus: Uganda Red Cross complements Government Interventions in Food Distribution across Kampala

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On Saturday 4th April, 2020, Government of Uganda started food distribution to vulnerable people in Kampala district affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The exercise was commissioned by the Hon. Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, who is also the chair / heads Uganda’s Coronavirus Response Team for relief food distribution campaign.

According to the Government of Uganda, the pilot was to be done in Bwaise, one of the Kampala suburbs and would proceed to Wakiso, which is another high risk district for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many people were affected by the nationwide lock down, they have no food among other pressing basic needs. We will do the test run in Bwaise and later scale up to all areas affected, resources permitting.”

Uganda Red Cross through their technical team led by Paul Okot, the Emergency Response Manager noted the need to prioritize the most vulnerable people considering the available resources that Government fronted. “We used sphere standards and local experience we have over time in distributing relief to develop standard operating procedures, determine how government will select the vulnerable and how distribution should be done. Beneficiaries will be given sugar, milk, maize flour and beans.” Okot said.

Okot further added that Red Cross plays an auxiliary role to Government authorizes during such emergencies. “The Red Cross teams will support in activities like beneficiary registration, food distribution and hand washing / hygiene promotion, risk communication and offering pyscho-social support to those who will need such services”.

The Prime Minister emphasized that areas in Kampala and Wakiso districts were given priority considering the high rate of confirmed cases of COVID-19. Other districts will likely be supported if resources are available. He also offered other distribution guidelines which included having food relief distribution done from house to house/ door to door, as a way of ensuring social distancing and avoiding crowds.

“We do not want crowds. We also want absolute transparency, absolute accountability. Anybody who will go against this will be provoking the wrath of the law to take its course,” he added.

Uganda Red Cross co-chairs the vulnerable groups’ sub-committee which is chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister and the same sub-committee is responsible for relief Food distribution.

Other Insights

On 31st December 2019, the Government of China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was identified and has been named COVID-19. On 30 January, World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. All continents have now reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, and the risk of continued spread between and within countries is very high.

Europe is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many European countries have closed their borders and imposed movement restrictions on their populations. The number of COVID-19 cases in the world has surpassed cases in China.

The Case of Uganda Today, Uganda has 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19. A cumulative 3,310 samples have been tested.

The number of individuals in institutional quarantine has reduced from original 1040 to 613.

427 have been discharged and 855 contact cases of confirmed cases are under follow up.

The confirmed cases are being supported, attended and in stable conditions, responding to medication steadily. They are admitted at Mulago National Referral hospital (20), Entebbe grade B Hospital (30), Adjumani hospital (1) and Hoima hospital (1).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Uganda Red Cross.

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