KAMPALA – The United States Mission in Uganda has provided both technical assistance and more than $15 million (about Shs56b) to meet the urgent needs of Uganda’s COVID-19 response.
This was revealed in a Friday a press statement posted on the Mission’s website highlighting that the assistance has been spread across many parts of the health sector to directly support the COVID-19 response as well as to assist the broader health sector in continuing its regular service delivery with the goal of enabling Uganda’s overall health system to maintain stability despite the challenges of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the American people made a commitment of an additional $162 million for the global COVID-19 response, bringing the total to date to more than $1 billion since the outbreak began.
The statement pointed out that for decades, the U.S. Mission has invested significantly in the country’s health sector, including systems strengthening, preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious diseases. U.S. government support to Uganda’s health sector over the years played a key role in preparing to effectively respond to COVID-19.
According to the Mission, the U.S. government has redirected and reprogrammed more than $2.8 million to address the general needs of the COVID-19 response including personnel, additional supplies, and technological equipment to support the surge capacity of Uganda’s Emergency Operation Center.
“We have contributed more than $600,000 of additional funding to ensure nationwide upgrades to electronic data systems and establish a National Health Information Exchange to link electronic systems for enhanced COVID-19 case management and expanded surveillance. The U.S. government has contributed an additional $540,000 to provide and train surge capacity laboratory staff, expand the severe acute respiratory illness sentinel surveillance network, and complete performance evaluations for new COVID-19 test kits,” read in part the statement.
Additionally, to ensure that vital HIV services continue in Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. government redirected $650,000 through our Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services (RHITES) programs for training and orientation of the facility and community-based health workers on Ministry of Health guidelines, training curricula, and standard operating procedures.
The statement further reads, “We are committed to stopping COVID-19 at Uganda’s borders through technical assistance and have provided an additional $210,000 to build the new Border Health Authority, including the creation of training protocols for border screening personnel, the creation of the National Border Health Plan, and the training of health, lab, and security personnel at borders for screening operations.
We have allocated nearly $1.3 million of additional humanitarian assistance to support UNHCR’s COVID-19 response for refugees and host communities.”
The Mission added, “We believe that Uganda’s most vulnerable people must be protected, and have redirected $220,000 of funding to enhance child protection services, in addition to the technical assistance we provided that resulted in the re-opening of the Uganda Child Helpline (116), retaining this critical channel for comprehensive response services for child victims of violence.”
The U.S. government is also supporting the key role of Regional Referral Hospitals and district leadership structures, with the statement noting, “We remain committed to partnering with Uganda to continue the hard work and support that is needed to fight this disease.”
The US has the most Coronavirus cases in the world with 1,593,039 cases, 94,941 deaths and recoveries are recorded at 370,812 with President Trump having ordered flags to fly at half-mast to honour Americans that have lost their lives to Coronavirus. Uganda on the other had recorded 15 more cases yesterday, bringing our total COVID-19 cases to 279.