The Government of Denmark has signed a grant worth Two (2) Million Dollars to support the COVID-19 response in Uganda. The grant is to be channelled through the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and will go towards the procurement of lifesaving commodities such as masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for health workers. The grant will also support the improvement of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services in selected districts.
At the signing ceremony, the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, His Excellency Nicolaj Petersen extended his government’s appreciation to the Government of Uganda for implementing strategic and effective measures to curb and manage the COVID-19 pandemic. “Uganda has managed to control the spread of the Coronavirus so far. Only 81 cases have been confirmed, most of which were detected at entry”, he said.
However, despite the modest success so far, Ambassador Nicolaj noted that more still has to be done to make sure that the virus is contained. “This grant, therefore, will further support the Government of Uganda’s agenda to combat COVID-19,” he said.
Ambassador Nicolaj appreciated the tremendous work done by WHO and UNFPA in Uganda’s health sector despite the infrastructural and social challenges the country faces. “I am very pleased to partner with you to support WHO’s efforts and your close working relationship with the Ministry of Health. He, therefore, hoped that the grant will provide the urgently needed commodities such as oxygen masks and PPEs.
The WHO Representative in Uganda, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, noted that the grant is an important milestone especially in areas that need increased technical support. According to Dr Yonas, these areas include the coordination of COVID 19 response, the application of technical standards and best practices focusing on case management, infection prevention and control, laboratory, risk communication and psychosocial support. These are very critical areas of support and they are in line with the WHO strategy as well as the Government of Uganda COVID-19 Preparedness and Response plans.
At the same time, Dr Yonas cautioned that while Uganda has made great strides in responding to the pandemic, this does not mean that the outbreak is over. “There is still a need to respond to the pandemic as if it is just starting. The continued presence of COVID outbreaks globally and within neighbouring countries is just an indication that we need to do more,” he added.
Luckily for Uganda, the disease surveillance, early warning and response systems are in place and functional. WHO and other partners are supporting the Ministry to ensure that lifesaving commodities and patient care facilities for COVID 19 response are available at national and sub-national levels.
The UNFPA Representative in Uganda, Mr Alain Sibenaler reiterated UNFPA’s readiness to partner with the Government of Uganda to coordinate and deliver Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services especially during the on-going COVID-19 outbreak. “We shall continue to provide critical support towards SRH services, and with support from Denmark, this can be done in a safer and more protective way,” he said. The COVID-19 grant was given by the Government of Denmark on the backdrop of continued support to Uganda’s health sector that spans over three decades particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS.
As of today, Uganda has 81 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 52 patients have recovered, and no deaths. Most of the confirmed cases include Ugandans returning from foreign travels, foreigners and truck drivers from neighbouring countries.