Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng has warned Ugandans must take personal responsibility to avoid COVID-19 virus which has so far claimed over 500 lives.
She COVID-19 continues to ravage the entire country simply “because Ugandans don’t want to listen and observe preventive measures.”
“The number of admissions and deaths is so high,” said a visibly concerned Aceng.
“In other words, we are in a state where we need all hands to address the pandemic. How did we get here? Ugandans were not listening. No amount of oxygen, no amount of vaccines or increase in ICU beds will get us out of this situation,” she emphasised.
Aceng spoke this Thursday while officially receiving 175,200 vaccines under the COVAX arrangement from the French government, UNICEF and World Health Organisation.
She handed over the consignment to NMS for storage and delivery to districts across Uganda.
Uganda is grappling with a surging number of COVID-19 cases. The Ministry of Health is reporting a daily average of 1,000 COVID-19 cases.
The new doses bring to 1,139,200, the total number of COVID-19 doses received by Uganda since March 2021.
“The best vaccines is ourselves,” said Aceng at the function attended by the French Ambassador to Uganda, Jules-Armand Aniambossou and representatives from UNICEF and World Health Organisation.
“We need to be responsible and follow COVID-19 prevention Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” she emphasised.
The measures include cleaning hands often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub; maintaining a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing; wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible; avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth and staying home if you feel unwell.
Aceng said more sensitization campaigns will be rolled out to support mass vaccinations against COVID-19.
“This time, we will run the vaccination in the form of campaigns. What we witnessed was hesitation of people yet they wanted to get vaccinated. We are appealing to them to come and vaccinated,” she emphasised.
“For travelers, once you are fully vaccinated, you are relieved of the need to get vaccinated many times,” she said, adding, “We should not lose track of the vulnerable.”
Out of the 964,000 does vaccines received by Uganda, 869,915 people have been vaccinated.
The COVAX Facility is the global pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines through which COVAX will ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all 190 participating economies, using an allocation framework formulated by WHO.
Barbara Nel, Africa Region Country President, AstraZeneca, said the arrival of a further 175,200 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Kampala is very good news for the people of Uganda.
“Our vaccine accounts for 94.61% of COVAX supply to date, with more than 76.7 million doses delivered to 127 participating countries, including more than 38 African countries,” she said.
“All partners in the vaccine alliance are working round the clock to ensure that as many COVID-19 vaccines can get to African nations as soon as possible. Today’s arrival in Kampala demonstrates the value of governments, industry and others working together to address our continent’s urgent need.”
National Drug Authority board chairman, Medard Bitekyerezo graced the ceremony in Entebbe.