KAMPALA —The UK has announced they have committed £500,000 (over $708,000) to UNICEF Uganda’s COVID-19 appeal – vital support that will benefit over 1.8 million people across Uganda.
The funding will support an increase in oxygen production and delivery and improve the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at selected health facilities, to keep health care workers safe. Immediate benefits include the purchase of one hundred 7,500-litre oxygen cylinders for Mulago National Referral Hospital; Namboole COVID-19 Treatment Centre; Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Mbale Regional Referral Hospital and Moroto Regional Referral Hospital and the provision of operational support to 4 oxygen plants for 3 months. UK support will also enable the procurement and installation of a new oxygen plant, in Kayunga Referral Hospital, boosting Uganda’s oxygen production capabilities.
In addition, funding will provide Personal Protective Equipment to Arua Regional Referral Hospital, Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Moroto Regional Referral Hospital, and support the training of health care workers in PPE and oxygen use.
The British High Commissioner, H.E. Kate Airey OBE, said “This outbreak of COVID-19 is a huge challenge globally and the UK continues to be at the forefront of global efforts to tackle the pandemic. As one of the largest supporters of the COVAX vaccines programme I am delighted that UKAid will continue to help Uganda cope with the ongoing wave of cases, through this funding for oxygen and essential supplies. I pay tribute to the brave and dedicated healthcare workers in Uganda who are tirelessly battling this disease, it is imperative they have the protection and supplies needed to stay safe and save lives.”
The UNICEF Representative in Uganda Dr. M. Munir A. Safieldin said, “COVID-19 has severely impacted on all spheres of life of everyone in Uganda – particularly children and their families. This contribution from the UK Government is very timely. With this partnership, UNICEF will continue supporting the Government of Uganda to respond to the immediate health needs following the current resurgence of COVID-19. It will support critical actions needed to reduce the spread of infection, provide support to those who need medical assistance and, at the same time, measures that will maintain essential health services.”
This support is just one way the UK is helping countries respond to COVID-19. In Uganda the UK has also donated test kits and supplied PPE, upgraded water, sanitation and hygiene facilities at health centres, provided training and helped deliver messaging on COVIID-19 prevention, helped children continue learning through the provision of distance learning lessons, provided media training to help counter misinformation and ensure accurate COVID-19 reporting and funded two COVID-19 Isolation rooms at home for children suffering from cancer in Kampala. The UK was also one of the first countries to back COVAX and to date has committed £548 million to ensure global access to vaccines and has consistently called on other donors to step up their support. Through the COVAX equitable access facility Uganda has received over 1 million Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccines.