Uganda’s lockdown has been extended by 21 days to the 5th of May 2020. Mr. Museveni has just addressed the nation that was eagerly waiting for this much-anticipated extension of the current lockdown that was supposed to end at midnight today April 14. Much as the president acknowledged that the situation is under control and there’s no need to fear, he said that Uganda still needs a nationwide lockdown to fully eliminate the infection. This is a serious decision that is going to come with more consequences to most Ugandans who live on daily income.
As of today April 14, 5,654 people have been tested for coronavirus at the Uganda Virus Institute in Entebbe. Of those, 4,015 were returning from abroad. All in all, 54 tested positive and 5 have been discharged after recovering from the infection. It was announced over the weekend that 18 would be discharged by the end of today, but there’s no update on that (only one of them was discharged this afternoon). This has been a good control mechanism and Uganda’s curve on the global pandemic chart is among the lowest, and almost flat. The peak rise in cases was in late March, and only 2 cases have been reported in the last 10 days.
The slow rise in the number of positive cases has given many Ugandans relief and wiped out the fear that most people had considered the high daily death tolls in other countries. Our health care system is not able to handle big numbers of cases. Most Ugandans are also skeptical about the accuracy and the overall ability to test and get a clear estimate of the infected people. Mass testing is not possible. All cases tested were people returning from abroad and their contacts upon arrival.
Transport for the sick still remains a huge problem. This is particularly one major problem that is affecting a great majority of people who are in need of medical services. A nurse at one of the rural health centers in the northeastern part of the country made headlines on Saturday when she pushed a patient in a wheelchair for more than 5 miles to the nearest hospital. The health center could not manage the patient’s problem, but there was no means of transport to refer the patient. Despite public applause and gifts from some Ugandans, government officials were not pleased with the nurse’s action. When the news broke, the area presidential representative attacked the nurse accusing her of tarnishing the name of government by making leaders look like they don’t care! Unfortunately, the patient, a male in his late 60s, could not make it.
Several individuals and companies have contributed a total of UGX 3,000,000,000 and USD $343,000 in cash, plus other items and vehicles to help the government in the fight against coronavirus. The government program of distributing food to the vulnerable is also still going on, but now that the lockdown has been extended, we don’t know what will happen, because some families have already finished what was given to them. Because of the rampant corruption in the country, people question the fate of the donations to the government, after one official was found with hundreds of kilograms of food and other items that were supposed to be distributed to those in need.
We thank God that all our project children and their families are still fine. Despite challenges in communication, we who are on ground still have a close contact with the majority of them. Receiving medical care for those in need is not so hard since there’s a well established medical center within about one mile from our headquarters. We hope that the families will be able to have access to food through the entire period of the lockdown. Schools are not going to open until the end of this lockdown since there’s no means of transport.
We hope that this situation will end soon, but above all, we’re not going to lose courage. We’re going to remain positive and committed to helping one another in these difficult times. We continue to pray for protection upon our team out there in the USA and the sponsors and the donors, and everyone that has been taking time to read these articles.