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Uganda COVID-19 Update

COVID-19

Africa numbers*

  • 54 countries in Africa affected
  • 99,433 cumulative cases in Africa
  • 3,078 reported deaths
  • 39,103 reported recoveries
  • South Africa most affected with 19,137 cases

*Data from World Health Organization, 5/20/22

 

Uganda numbers**

  • 260 reported cases (up from 126 on 5/13/20)
  • 0 deaths

**Data from World Health Organization, 5/19/20

While the number of Covid-19 cases in Uganda remain low, the number jumped 106% this last week. The country continues its response by asking people to follow guidelines and distance from others which will also keep the healthcare workforce safe.  Another example of Uganda’s response is this: The Minister of Health and State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties have established the first border health laboratory at Mutukula border entry point shared by Uganda and Tanzania. The border is crossed easily, daily, and now, given the rise of Covid-19 among truck drivers, those drivers accessing this entry point will be tested by the new health lab and receive results in 45 minutes. The lab can process 64 samples per hour.

An ongoing concern in Uganda and all of Africa is food shortages.  According to the World Health Organization on March 14, 2020:

“COVID-19 is unfolding in Africa against a backdrop of worrying levels of hunger and undernourishment, which could worsen as the virus threatens livelihoods and household economies,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Hunger and malnutrition heighten vulnerability to diseases, the consequences of which could be far reaching if not properly addressed.”

In Africa, it is estimated that one in five people is undernourished, and that 30% of children under five – approximately 59 million children – have stunted growth, greater than the global average of 21.9%. Wasting occurs in approximately 7.1% of children in Africa. The continent has the highest burden of malnutrition compared with other parts of the world, in terms of percentage of the population. While there has been little research so far into malnutrition as a co-morbidity for COVID-19, people with weakened immune systems as a result of undernourishment are at greater risk of a range of serious illnesses and so are likely to be more severely affected by the virus.

Recent estimates of food insecurity have suggested that as many as 73 million people in Africa were acutely food insecure. COVID-19 is exacerbating food shortages, as food imports, transportation and agricultural production have all been hampered by a combination of lockdowns, travel restrictions and physical distancing measures.

The burden of movement restrictions and lockdowns is being felt particularly strongly by low-income households and those working in the informal economy due to their loss of livelihoods and inability to access markets.

ROWAN continues to deliver food to the widows and orphans in the ROWAN villages.  But the need is great and we need your help.  Any gift will go directly to food for our sisters and brothers who are locked down but need to eat.  Thank you for praying for these dear ones and giving as you’re able.


“Oh God, our help in ages past
Our hope for years to come
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home…”
Isaac Watts, 1708

 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

A Double Whammy: COVID-19 and Record Floods

As of today, May 14th, 2020 at 8 pm EST, 160 Ugandans have tested positive for the coronavirus, of which none has died and 63 have recovered. 

Although the virus infects a mere fraction of Uganda’s 43M citizens, the pandemic’s impact on the economy and government resonates nationally. Measures to slow the spread often clash against the normalcy of daily life and the vitality of essential trade. As information about the virus emerges daily, Ugandan policymakers must propose national recommendations that adaptively balance the physical and economic well-being of their people. 

Second-hand clothing markets annually reap $200M for the Ugandan economy.

Illustrating this volatility, bans that were placed on the second-hand clothing market were reversed on May 8th – just 24 hours after their institution. Although they may remain open, clothing sellers must abide by heightened hygiene mandates such as fumigation before they can make any sales. While the government did not release any comments concerning this policy reversal, its desire to maintain the $200M industry and to prevent backlash from the U.S. – the main source of imported clothing – may have motivated the decision.

Ugandan truck drivers have been mandated to carry digital tracking devices.

On May 12th, Ugandan officials ordered all truck drivers to carry digital tracking devices. This strategy came in response to a disproportionate rate of infection that was reported among these workers last month. Although preventing the spread of the disease remains paramount, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni emphasizes, “We need the cargo. We need the goods.” … And they certainly do. Stifling the dispersion of COVID-19 has necessitated significant economic sacrifices. Already, the International Monetary Fund, a multinational organization working towards global financial security, has loaned $491M in relief to Uganda’s COVID-19-related economic downturn. 

President Museveni’s final campaign rally from 2015.

Beyond the economic strain, the country expects a postponement of polling for its 2020 general elections. Should the pandemic remain out of control through July, President Museveni predicts a delay of the elections until early 2021. 

The Nalubaale Hydroelectric Power Station, where the blackout-causing blockage occurred.

It gets worse. As if COVID-19 did not pose great enough hardships, the Ugandan people now face extreme flooding – the likes of which they have not seen since 1976. This month alone, the floods have killed 4 people, trapped 200 patients inside of a hospital, and displaced 5,000 others for the sake of emergency relocation. Recently, the record 44-ft rise in Lake Victoria dislodged an island of vegetation – measuring 2 acres –from a riverbank. Ultimately, this floating island clogged one of Uganda’s four main hydroelectric power stations, which precipitated a brief, yet nationwide power outage. 

 

Post Author: Chanel Varney

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