Uganda has put herself slightly ahead of other countries in the region as the only country that has managed to be seriously proactive to prevent Covid_19.
Since 2018, Uganda has been in emergency mode and has had to respond to outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), Yellow Fever, Measles and Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) — all in regular succession. At the same time, the country has been ready and constantly monitoring the EVD outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with heightened keen interest.
Therefore by the point Covid_19 hit the world, Uganda was not ready but at least it was not reluctant either. Uganda already had isolation centers, Uganda has long had the testing capacity ever since the first Ebola days.
According to President Museveni, the killing ratio of Covid-19 is not compared to that of Ebola, With Covid-19 out of 150,000 infected people, only 5,000 have died which works out of 3%. With Ebola in Uganda, the percentage of people dying was 67%, so yes Uganda was a bit prepared than other countries in the region.
During the first days of Covid_19, while other countries like Kenya were still ignorant about flight cancellation, Uganda immediately canceled almost all her flights and travelers from any country that had reported cases of Covid_19 was to be subjected to a 14-day self-quarantine whether they possessed symptoms and signs of coronavirus or not.
Uganda didn’t stop at flight cancellation and d suspension,
“While Uganda has placed restrictions on travel, we still can’t take chances and as such, every traveler accessing the country through any border is being screened,” notes the WHO Representative, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam.
“Yesterday, we received 22 passengers from the Category 1 countries who were identified by our health workers at the airport. None of them exhibited signs and symptoms of Covid-19. We informed them about our procedure of self-quarantine for 14 days. However, they were not willing to undergo this self-quarantine. Today, they will return to their home countries,” Uganda’s Ministry of Health announced.
Such important and Urgent moves have managed to keep Uganda safe and no Covid-19 case has been registered in Uganda to date.
Although no case has been registered, these efforts being spearheaded by His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta who is constantly advising Ugandans to adopt and practice proven behaviors capable of stemming the spread of the infection have set Uganda apart from the rest.
All health workers in Uganda are on high alert and several health facilities have been prepared to manage expected patients. Public awareness and promotion of preventive behaviors such as regular handwashing are some of the major activities being implemented at the moment.
Still, with no registered case, President Museveni has already put up factories providing hand sanitizers and also promised to put up more factories to start producing face masks of different types all in the name of prevention is better than cure.
When the COVID-19 outbreak was declared, the MoH National Task Force constituted a preparedness response, placing a lot of emphasis on risk communication and community engagement to promote good health practices among members of the public.
Uganda could have maybe been scared about not having enough medical facilities or even resources like other countries in case the Virus attacked therefor, it chose prevention over cure by choosing to mobilize its citizens on how to stay safe. This has saved Uganda to date.
Still, with no registered case, President Museveni addressed his nation on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 and warned citizens against attending gatherings like Funerals, weddings, Bars and Church prayers.
President Museveni ordered all public meetings banned, Government closes schools, Religious gatherings banned, Concerts, sports, merrymaking suspended and advised public transportation only if necessary.
‘It is better to be a coward’ President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni stated as he concluded.
By Erica Nsunjo