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Covid-19 tears through Uganda's healthcare, impacts livelihoods and sabotage our operations


Just months as we were trying to recover from that hard first lockdown, Boom Boom on 18th June 2021 the government of Uganda announced another lockdown which shuttered all our initial recovery efforts. Our operations are hanging due to limitations in resources required to run our vital programs. The need for food, proper sanitation, and medical care in the community where we work is high. Most of the people in these communities live a hand-to-mouth life and now that they are not working, they are struggling to just survive.


There is no reliable bailout from the government. The long-awaited government’s intervention is not only yet to come to fruition but all unrealistic yet children and families are starving. Out of the 40 plus million Ugandans, the government is planning to offer support of UGX: 100,000 (£22) ($28) (€26) for only 500,000 people through the lockdown! Imagine, in the Greater Masaka region alone and where we work the population is over 1.5 million people but the government is planning to offer support to just 10,827 people. This is not realistic at all because the number of people who need government support is high and increasing every day.


The situation is worsening and increasingly hard. People are contracting the virus and dying every day and vaccines are scarce or inadequate and faked. Some children and youth on our program are some of the people who contracted the virus. If you remember in one of our updates during the first lockdown in 2020 we talked about our student nurse Doreen Ingabire who had joined the battle against Covid-19. Unfortunately, she contacted the virus and she is under isolated medication.


Several people are believed to have died as a result of fake vaccines administered to them. Even the government came up and attested to the presence of fake vaccines and cautioned the general public against these fake vaccines. It is believed that over 800 people here in Uganda have been vaccinated with fake vaccines, and are the leading cause of death than the virus itself.


Treating Covid-19 is too expensive and each clinic or hospital charge differently. Therefore, we are just praying that the virus goes away and that genuine vaccines become available and everyone gets vaccinated. Public hospitals are only receiving Covid-19 patients and who are in critical conditions. Patients suffering from other sicknesses are asked to look for medication from other sources which are private hospitals and clinics. On average, private hospitals and clinics charge from 60,000 (£14) ($18) (€16) to 400,000 (£90) ($116) (€108) per day to treat an out-patient suffering from while for the in-patient charge starts from 1 million (£222) ($286) (€278) to 5 million (£1,111) ($1,429) (€1,389) per day!


To add an insult to an injury, there a nationwide shortage of Oxygen which has resulted into high costs treating the virus. For Patients that require the support of Oxygen and ICU, the cost of their treatment starts from 1.5 million (£333) ($429) (€417) to 8 million (£1,778) ($2,286) (€2,222) per day. All these charges are way too expensive for an ordinary Ugandan and especially for the already vulnerable community that we work with. So what we see now is that most people have resorted to self-medication and mainly by locally available herbs. But one of the dangers of using these herbs is that one cannot determine the proper dosage.


Movement is restricted, people's movement stops at 7:00 pm and movement from one district to another is prohibited except for essential occasions and the number of people attending the occasion is 20. Vehicle and motorcycle transport is banned except for essential workers, cargo, and delivery services. Other inevitable movements require verification and permission from the authorities and it takes a long process to obtain.


There is a greater need to support children to adhere to the lockdown rules so that we keep them safe from the virus. And our major task has been the consolidation and acceleration of our strategies for protecting children, youth, families, and communities from the escalating coronavirus.


We have a duty to protect children, youth, and their families from the virus but the rising cost of essentials is increasingly hampering our efforts to do so. Our operations cut across 9 districts. So we distribute essentials by delivery services and cash sent via Mobile Money through our teams in the districts where we can’t move to at this time. Together with our teams, we assess the situation and make action plans depending on the available resources. So when the teams receive the money they then buy and distribute the essentials to the populations that look up to us every day.


The situation now requires greater financial resources to protect the community from the coronavirus, support people to get back on their feet, and fight poverty. We have over 156 children, youth, and families who need food, home-schooling and online learning, house rent, sanitary towels, and medication every day, and we can’t continue doing this without you and your help.


Are you able to do something to help the Masaka community through the pandemic? These are some of the current needs and what your gift can help provide.


Food Parcel & a Sanitizer:

A gift of £18 ($22) (€20) will provide food and a sanitizer for a family of 4 members for over 2 weeks. https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=PK3HPN7VD3H9S


Sanitary towels for adolescent girls:

A gift of £7 ($9) (€8) will provide textile for making 30 machine sewn reusable sanitary towels per month through the pandemic.

Face Masks:

A gift of £6 ($8) (€7) will provide textile for making 30 face masks for 15 people (2 masks per person) through the pandemic.


Radio for Home School for children without access to internet or Television:

A gift of £7 ($9) (€8) will provide 1 radio for 2 to 4 children to learn from home and through the pandemic. https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=ZUJRKQFF5WC4Y

Equipment for online learning of students especially those at the university who are in their semi and final years.


Laptop:

A gift of £345 ($444) (€414) will provide 1 laptop for one student in the final year to effectively access online education through the pandemic. We needed 3 laptops for 3 students but if we get 2 or 1 we really appreciate it. https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=EYE8BDURGJLVL

Internet Data Bundles:

A gift of £4 ($5) (€6) will provide 3 GBs of internet data bundle per week to help download study materials for home-schooling through the pandemic.


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