Just like the rest of the world, Uganda has been gravely affected by COVID 19 pandemic after having registered her first case on 21st March 2020. This was followed by a total Country’s lockdown and nationwide night-time curfew from 1st – 14th April 2020 with an additional extension of 21 days from 15th April to 5th May 2020. While these lockdowns are necessary measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic like they proved successful in China, such economic interruptions are unprecedented in many ways and as such do require state and all stakeholder support to vulnerable households in economic and health aspects.
As a result of these lockdowns, the economy has begun experiencing a downward trend with a hike in prices of food and basic necessities, loss of employment and closure of companies with an estimated 4,200 companies reported to have closed over COVID-19 lockdown (Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives, April 2020).
PaCT as a key WASH implementing partners, felt the gravity levied on the nation and we are working with District Taskforces and other stakeholders including health experts to promote facts and reality about the pandemic to grassroot people including women and children. Our approaches are geared at preparing communities to fight the pandemic through the different measures as published by Ugandan Ministry of Health (MoH) and WHO including;
- Frequent handwashing
- Maintaining a social distance
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose & mouth
- Practicing respiratory hygiene among others
PaCT is well positioned at community level which has enabled our team to effectively support the most at risk households through community-based awareness creation in Mityana and its neighboring districts through community drives with COVID 19 information and updates, local language-based radio talk shows, community megaphones & distribution of IEC materials published by MoH. Additionally, PaCT is empowering the capacity of District Taskforces by supporting their potential to respond to emergencies in collection COVID 19 suspect samples by the surveillance team, supporting the establishment & equipping the isolation centers by providing hospital mattresses and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (gloves, masks, sanitizers etc ) as well as boosting the taskforce’s communication arm with airtime and fuel.
By 20th April 2020, PaCT had reached out to a total of 153,160 people through awareness on COVID 19 preventive related information in Mityana District alone, supported setting up tippy taps and soap distribution to 2,466 COVID 19 most at-risk households (elderly, PLWHIV and women headed households).
However, as PaCT leads the awareness creation in the region of her operation, it has been realized that in addition to awareness creation, many families are starved in addition to GBV being on the rise. PaCT is therefore calling on all stakeholders to come to rescue of many of the women and children that are sleeping on empty stomachs due to this pandemic.