Updated July 6, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to build in Uganda, with an additional 83 cases since the week prior. Although cases continue to climb, the numbers have been steadily controlled thanks to the Ministry of Health’s proactive and robust response. Still after 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda, no deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported.
Confirmed Cases: 953
On July 3rd, the Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng, launched the Mass Masking campaign, empowering residents of Uganda to protect themslves and others from COVID-19 in effort to limit its spread.
On July 4th, a baby was successfully delivered via C-section from a COVID-19-positive mother at Entebbe Grade B Hopsital. Both the mother and baby are doing well and are recovering.
Updated June 29, 2020
Uganda’s past public health emergencies have strengthened and prepared the country for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through innovative measures, such as establishing a national COVID-19 Helpline, there are no recorded deaths due to COVID-19 as of June 29, 2020. Currently, there are 870 confirmed cases, with only 190 of them currently active. Of the 190 active cases, 168 are Ugandans admitted into direct medical care.
Uganda has a robust contact tracing and testing program, with a total of 190,643 samples tested and 9,716 people identified through contact tracing. Currently, 1,271 residents are under quarantine, monitoring for symptoms.
Updated June 10, 2020
Here’s what’s happening: The confirmed coronavirus count has risen to 775 in Uganda, though mercifully there have been 0 deaths. Our project area is no longer immune: Soroti Regional Referral Hospital has 11 patients positive for COVID-19. Health workers in both Soroti and Katakwi are worryingly short of personal protective equipment (PPE), and many medical staff in the local hospital have threatened to quit their positions unless protection is given to them.
Here’s what Pilgrim Africa is doing: Because of your support, and with the help of friends at Rotarian Malaria Partners, we have procured an additional shipment of masks. We have used some of these to meet shortages among health workers in Katakwi and Soroti. We distributed the first allotment of 50 N-95 masks to Katakwi Hospital today.
Updated June 2, 2020
Uganda acted early in the global pandemic and imposed a tough lockdown at the end of March. The lockdown included a complete transport ban on private vehicles and motorcycles, which has just begun easing as of today, as well as the closing of all inessential businesses. Cases are under 500 and, mercifully, there have not yet been any deaths, but the country is nearing capacity for ICU bedspace, and cases among health workers are growing. As in many other countries, people have lost jobs and livelihoods in the economic slowdown caused by the lockdown, but here the social safety net is especially sparse. Uganda needs to prepare proactively to survive both the pandemic and its economic impacts.
Despite the challenges, we are not without hope. In fact, we know we need more than ever to do what we do: Love boldly, create catalytic change, and partner well.
Here is what Pilgrim Africa is doing now to mitigate and address the effects of the COVID-19 crisis:
Village Health Teams (VHTs)
COVID-19 hasn’t killed anyone in Uganda yet. Malaria’s still the primary Grim Reaper. But health workers who treat malaria and other diseases are rightly concerned about the virus. Our 207 Village Health Teams (VHTs) are currently on the frontlines, carrying out life-saving work of testing and treating individuals who show symptoms of malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia. We have changed our training, equipping and operating procedures to allow our VHTs to keep functioning safely in the pandemic. We have equipped them with masks, soap, phones and data, and they are providing the villagers in these rural areas with ongoing COVID-19 updates.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
This was a tough one. Thanks to the amazing generosity of friends at Rotarian Malaria Partners, we managed to get masks in April and distribute them to our VHTs. Rotarian Malaria Partners, again, has helped connect us to mask suppliers and we are in the midst of placing an order for months 2 and 3.
We’re using health workers as a means to communicate COVID-19 facts with villagers. There is a high level of fear and a low level of knowledge. People living in rural areas are not receiving the kind of news that city dwellers are getting. Our VHTs are trusted providers of reliable health information. They will be providing COVID-19 updates and teaching transmission avoidance techniques.
Our in-country leadership is working closely with Uganda’s Ministry of Health to assist the country in its larger COVID-19 response, and are also coordinating with Uganda’s Critical Care Associations. Uganda needs not only equipment and personnel, but also expertise and training, some of which can be provided remotely.
Together with the Ministry of Health, we are working to ensure that COVID-19 won’t be a deadly scourge in a health care system under-equipped to meet the demand of care for critically ill patients. For everyone in the world right now, coronavirus is changing all the rules and upsetting the status quo. In Uganda, there’s potential to manage those changes proactively and well to avoid great disaster. We are focusing on what Pilgrim Africa does best: creating hope by creating a local and actionable, if ambitious and visionary, plan for a sustainable, prosperous healthy future.