Uganda is currently being hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19 infections. In speaking with a BBC news correspondent, Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services at the Health Ministry, said that it took less than 10 days for the second wave of infections to reach levels seen in a full-scale pandemic. The steep rise in cases is believed to be due in part to the arrival in Uganda of the new variants of the virus that have been seen in India and South Africa. These new variants are more infectious and have been shown to have a higher hospitalization rate. In her article for VOA News, Halima Athumani shared statistics that highlight the exponential growth of COVID-19 infections in Uganda; Ms. Athumani reported that for the week of April 25, there were 256 new COVID-19 cases reported but by the week of May 16th, new COVID-19 cases in Uganda had risen to 1060. In addition to the arrival of the new, more infectious, variants of the virus, Uganda is facing a vaccine shortage emergency. According to news reports in Uganda, the existing supply of COVID-19 vaccines has run out, and it is unknown when future shipments of the vaccine may arrive. The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, is expected to address the country on Sunday with an update on the COVID-19 crisis and the actions the government is going to take to try to slow the spread of the virus.
The second wave has seen the COVID-19 virus reach the communities ROWAN serves. Even though our communities have not had any COVID-19 cases over the past year, ROWAN has been working hard to help people in our communities be as knowledgeable and as prepared as possible for the arrival of the COVID-19 virus. While our ROWAN team in Uganda is doing all they physically can to help our community members weather this storm, we also know there is tremendous power in prayer. There is a quote by Angus Buchan that says, “There is power in prayer. When men work, they work. But when men pray, God works.” We have seen firsthand the power of prayer in action and we are standing with our community members, our Ugandan team, and the Ugandan people in prayer. Please, join us in praying for our ROWAN communities and for the people of Uganda as they face this new threat.
All photos in this post are by Bob Ditty