ROME, Italy — On Friday 4th, WFP’s Deputy Country Director, Ryan Anderson (in gray stripes shirt) visited the Uganda-Kenya border post of Malaba where he was taken around the Uganda COVID-19 response facility. Through Mr. Anderson, WFP contributed the following items to the Malaba response:
1. 10 hospital beds
2. 10 computers
3. 10 biometric scanners
4. 10 digital cameras
5. 10 computer tables
6. 10 office swivel chairs
7. 100 plastic chairs
Attached and pasted further down are Mr. Anderson’s brief remarks at the occasion, if you might want to make a story.
Greeting on behalf of the United Nations World Food Programme.
I would like to begin by commending the Government of Uganda and local district governments in Tororo, Busia, Malaba and elsewhere in Uganda for your robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of Uganda’s swift actions and investments made over the years in emergency preparedness and response, this country has recorded remarkably fewer infections so far compared to many others in the region and the world.
I would like to particularly commend the Government for keeping its borders open to the flow of food commodities throughout the pandemic. This decision has enabled us at the World Food Programme, together with our partners, to continue assisting nearly 1.4 million people in Uganda, including 1.2 million refugees. Eighty percent of refugees are women and children aged under 18, while the people we support in Karamoja are mostly school children, as well as pregnant women, new mothers and young children affected by life-threatening malnutrition. Steps that Uganda has taken to ensure markets and supply chains remain functional are keeping vulnerable women and children alive.
The reason why I am in Malaba today is what has become our common belief that no country can successfully take on COVID-19 by itself. The pandemic is affecting countries indiscriminately, impacting even my own country, the United States of America. That means that we must respond as a collective of nations so that we may succeed together.
The second reason why I am in Malaba is the ambitious commitments that 193 countries made back in 2015 when they adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals under the stewardship of Uganda, which chaired the UN General Assembly at that time. Goal 17 underlines the importance of partnerships in accelerating the delivery of results against all the Sustainable Development Goals.
The third and last reason for my being here is a commitment that the World Food Programme has made to Uganda through our Country Strategic Plan to gradually transition from being a direct implementer of hunger solutions to becoming an enabler of national institutions and a strengthener of local capacities for the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is my hope that this equipment and beds will help quicken the screening process, augment Malaba’s isolation infrastructure and contribute to reducing the risks of infection on all people passing through and working in Malaba. This includes truck operators, who are a critical piece in our supply chain apparatus.
The World Food Programme hopes that these items will contribute to strengthening Uganda’s efficiency at a key border entry point and therefore the country’s overall COVID-19 response.
Already, at the request of the Ministry of Health, the World Food Programme has contributed tents and other infrastructure to facilitate safe screening of people at Elegu, Malaba, Mutukula, Busia, Lwakhakha and Entebbe International Airport.
We are a member of the national taskforce managing the COVID-19 response, alongside our sister UN agencies, and we co-chair the Logistics Sub-Committee. In addition, we have deployed a supply chain officer to work full-time on the national taskforce.
The World Food Programme made 20 trucks and two warehouses available to support the government’s relief food distributions in Kampala and Wakiso during the lockdown, and to provide storage for general cargo.
I cannot close without thanking the Tororo and Malaba district authorities for your support to the World Food Programme over decades. You have enabled us to operate the largest logistics hub in the East African region, on this very soil. In October 2017, Tororo handled over 57,000 metric tons of food for operations in Uganda and the region, which was more food than any WFP logistics hub handled in the world in the month.
But back to COVID-19, as our joint struggle continues. Let us remain vigilant, washing or sanitizing our hands regularly, wearing our masks properly, maintaining physical distancing and keenly following guidelines from the Ministry of Health.