Coca cola donates over UGX 180M in fight against COVID-19

By Deo Wasswa

The Coca-Cola Foundation has handed over a substantial financial donation to the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) as a contribution towards Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities that will be implemented in high traffic areas and other activities relating to corona virus pandemic.

The one hundred eighty six million shillings (Ush186,000,000) donation will go towards promotion of mandatory hand washing and support Risk communication for COVID-19 with URCS as the implementing partner.

Speaking at the handover event , the Uganda Red Cross Society Secretary General, Mr. Robert Kwesiga applauded Coca-Cola for its humanitarian efforts at both a national and global level and for being a reliable partner in saving lives.

“Even before the outbreak of corona virus, we were partners with Coca-Cola. We have implemented several initiatives with them as our partners. Last year when there were landslides in Bundibugyo, Coca-Cola was among the first companies to respond in saving the lives of the people affected in the area. Now with COVID-19, Coca-Cola has been responsive both at a national- working with us locally and globally – supporting the International Red Cross,” said Mr. Robert Kwesiga.

Globally, The Foundation has extended support to both international and local NGOs, such as the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Amref Health by deploying a range of resources, including capabilities, funds and products to support governments, communities and local economies in their urgent efforts to contain the spread and impact of corona virus.

Robert Kwesiga further added that scientists earlier this year predicted that November and December would be the peak of COVID-19 cases. Uganda now has 23,200 COVID-19 cases so far. Of those, 2017 people have succumbed to the virus.

Medical aspects become one of the elements but the bigger element right now is around community engagement; people need to take responsibility, people need to take charge,” Mr. Robert Kwesiga cautioned.

The Government of Uganda under the guidance of the President, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni through the National Task Force set up a committee last month to roll out the community engagement strategy. The Uganda Red Cross Society as a member of the committee will be leveraging on its huge network and volunteer base across the country at district level.

The project is to be implemented in the areas of western Uganda; Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu, Isingiro, Ntungamo and Mutukula. In the Central region, the focus will be on the two Taxi parks in Kampala which have very high foot-traffic.

Government hands over ambulances to Uganda Red Cross

By Moses Kidandi

Uganda Red Cross Society with support from the Government of Uganda has received 10 ambulances to support emergency response activities along major highways in Uganda. The selected highways are also considered hot spot areas that are prone to accidents and the ambulances will support emergency evacuations.

Through the annual budget appropriation to Government ministries and departments, the Uganda Red Cross in the year 2019 /2020 received funding worth 9.35bn shillings through the Ministry of Health. Part of this funding was allocated towards construction of a Health Center III in Bunambutye to support the families relocated from Bududa (on going), while the remaining funds were directed towards procurement of ambulances, Blood Mobilization and relief nonfood item kits to respond to disaster affected families.

While commissioning and handing over the ambulances, the Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda noted the work done by the Uganda Red Cross as part of their mandate as stipulated in the Red Cross Act as an integral part of the deliverable by the office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health.

The permanent secretary in the ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine says Uganda Red Cross will work closely with the Ministry of Health and support district Health Operations.

Atwine says the ambulances services will run in close coordination with the Ministry of Health, the Police rescue and response unit and the Red Cross teams, we will be able to bridge the gap and reduce fatalities that were arising from delayed response due to lack of emergency rescue vehicles and teams.

Uganda Red Cross Secretary General Robert Kwesiga says communities need these ambulances to help in the quick evacuation of accident victims and other emergency cases than never before. We therefore say Thank you to the Government of Uganda for your support and we pledge to continue serving Ugandans as per our mandate.

Uganda Red Cross will deploy 10 ambulances, with committed staff and trained response and rescue teams to support the ambulance operations.The ambulances will serve at the highways of with two based at the Uganda Red cross HQs – Jinja highway, Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale highway, Kampala – Gulu highway, Mbale – Soroti highway, Kampala Hoima highway, Kampala – Fort portal highway, and Kampala – Lira highways.

Albertine Region listed among cholera hotspots

By Moses Kidandi

Local leaders in west Nile region have embarked on a rapid campaign to sensitize communities against Cholera.

This follows a world Health organization( WHO) and UNICEF report mapping the Albertine regions comprising of Nebbi and Packwach as cholera hot spots in Africa.

The two districts of Nebbi and Packwach stood out among those with annual rampant occurrences of Cholera.This has been is due water contamination in these areas.

In a bid to reduce the hygiene and sanitation related diseases such as cholera, Uganda Red Cross with support from the Cartier Foundation are implementing a long term WASH integrated project targeting fishing communities in Nebbi and Packwach districts in West Nile, Northern Uganda.

The project includes the extension of piped water from Nyarwodo gravity flow scheme to Mamba Trading Centre, Alala center and connection of 15 villages with a total of 150 households, three institutions (Padwot Primary school, Mamba Secondary school , and Padwot Midiere Health Center 111 which are serving a population of approximately 2700 people.

While addressing the media at the handover of the Ugx 1,787,100,000/= project, Robert Kwesiga, Uganda Red Cross Secretary General said the project is supported by the Cartier team and the International Federation of the Red cross .

The project also includes installation of three boreholes located at Jafurunga, Abia – Nebbi district and Nyakiro South in Pakwach district and serving the population (1,705 persons) in Jafurunga Abia, and Nyakiro South and Rehabilitation of 5 boreholes in the areas of Kucwiny P/S, Kucwiny HCIII, Alwala East,Nyakiro P/S and Kivuje PS.

Robert Kwesiga says there is need to embark on the construction of more latrines to help communities live a healthy life.