The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people across the globe and Uganda is not exempt from its reach. According to the JHV CSSE COVID-19 Data, to date, Uganda has a total of 40,719 COVID-19 cases and has had 334 deaths from COVID-19. While the number of cases in Uganda has, thankfully, remained relatively low, COVID-19 has affected many people and industries there. But March brought with it new hope in the fight against COVID-19 in the form of antibody testing and a vaccination rollout.
(Photo by Reuters)
In mid-March, SABC News reported that the University of Makerere in Uganda, with funding help from the French government, was able to create a COVID-19 rapid antibody test that does not require the use of a laboratory or electricity to work. This new COVID-19 antibody testing system will give people living in remote or rural areas across Africa the ability to test for COVID-19 activity in their area. This new testing system requires only a finger prick for a blood draw and has been shown to have a 70% accuracy rate so far.
(Photo by Nicholas Kajoba/Xinhua)
In addition to the new COVID-19 antibody testing system, Uganda began a vaccination rollout campaign on March 10th. Uganda is using the Astra Zeneca vaccine and it will be made available to groups of people in phases.
As in other communities, it is the widows that ROWAN serves that are most at risk from COVID-19. Thankfully, COVID-19 has not yet reached the area where ROWAN is headquartered. We are working to be proactive in the fight against COVID-19 and are setting up a gathering for our widows to meet with a doctor who will explain more about COVID-19 and the things they can do to help prevent it. The doctor will also go over the vaccine, and its pros and cons, with the widows. ROWAN is currently working on a COVID-19 plan of action for the people in the village. We are setting up a phone number that people can call if they are feeling any COVID-19 symptoms. When a person calls this phone number, a representative from ROWAN will talk them through things they can do that will aid in their recovery as well as the steps they need to take to help keep those around them healthy. We will also get them tested for COVID-19.
We know we don’t have all the answers about COVID-19 and we will be upfront about this with all those who contact our ROWAN COVID-19 helpline. We just want those who reach out, and those who need help, to know that they are not alone; we will be there for, and with, them.