KAMPALA — To help curb the rising spread of COVID-19 across Uganda, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa has so far established 800 Public Hand Wash Stations across the country.
The Public Hand Wash Stations, handed over by Century and Rwenzori Bottling Companies, have so far been distributed to various communities in Kampala, Mukono, Mbarara, Buikwe and Kalungu Districts.
While receiving the latest installation in Kalungu District, Dr. Daniel Sentamu, Kalungu District Health Officer, lauded the company for the initiative and urged the general public to make use of the Public Hand Wash Stations as often as possible.
“Thank you, Coca-Cola, for the consignment given to Kalungu District. We shall be preventing infections by enabling our communities to access handwashing points to wash their hands properly, as this is one of the guidelines stipulated by the Ministry of Health. This donation will help us increase sanitation stations and fight infections. If we all do our part, the world will be safer,” he said.
The Public Hand Wash Stations include Five (5) 5,000-litre Hand Wash Tanks and more than 3000 20-litre Hand Wash Jerrycans all being installed countrywide for public use.
The intervention is part of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa’s UGX1.3billion contribution to the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health, to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa General Manager in Uganda, Melkamu Abebe, said the company would focus the interventions on areas susceptible to congestion and where there is a shortage of options for hand washing. These include urban and peri-urban areas that serve food and where people congregate in large numbers for convenience.
In Kalungu, the Public Hand Wash Stations have been placed at the Lukaya Transport hub where most public transport stops for passengers to pick up refreshments. Other hubs that have received Public Hand Wash stations include; Buikwe District’s Najjembe, Namawojjolo, Ssenyi and Kiyinda areas, along the busy Jinja Road Highway, Mbarara municipality and border areas.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health advise that, to avoid COVID-19, people should wash their hands frequently for at least twenty seconds each time with soap and water. Uganda, however, faces a challenge with access to clean water.
Melkamu Abebe also applauded the government on its efforts in managing the spread of the virus and reaffirmed the company’s commitment in support the government in whatever way possible.
“Our government has done a tremendous job in mitigating the spread of the virus right from the start and has continued to do so. It is my hope that as individuals we shall take on individual responsibility to follow the guidelines and stay safe. As a company, we are very committed to continue championing this cause and support the government in different capacities,” Abebe said.
In a message delivered by Special Events and Promotion Manager, Newton Lee Ogong, he urged the general public to focus more on public safety than comfort or convenience.
“We can all see that the case count is rising in Uganda, and we should all be serious about public health and safety at all times. It’s in your hands to ensure that safety – none of us should look to the Government or WHO to save our own lives. Again – it’s in your hands, so keep washing those hands with soap and water. Wear a face mask when in public. Follow the guidelines. The Covid-19 outbreak is a challenging time for all of us and has already had a significant impact on the economy as a whole, let’s now allow things to get worse,” he said.
Uganda’s corona virus community cases have been on the rise since the lifting of the lockdown. So far, 1,750 coronavirus have been registered with 19 deaths and 1,194 recoveries. Lifting of the lockdown placed greater responsibility on individuals to observe their own safety and also be more vigilant when socializing in public places by following the health guidelines issued by the government.
The District Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Careb Tukaikiriza encouraged Coca-Cola to continue with its long-term community spirit.
“The hand that gives is more blesses than the hand that receives. When your clients are affected, it means the market is affected. Thank you for going the extra mile to take care of your people. Once all this is behind us, we shall remember you for standing with us, your customers,” he said.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa has provided several interventions including; food relief worth UGX390million from The Coca-Cola Foundation, distributed through the Uganda Red Cross Society to vulnerable families affected by the lockdown; UGX85million to the Ministry of Health to buy medical equipment and sundries; public awareness worth UGX460million and three pick-up trucks for the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Task Force. So far the total contribution during this period is UGX1.3billion.