KAMPALA – A PhD student at Makerere University Institute of Social Research has poked holes in the government’s coronavirus response plan, saying it was tailored to suit the local situation.
The government in March announced a series of lockdown measures to contain the virus. Since then, many businesses and jobs were affected, leading to loss of jobs and decline in economic activity.
According to Yusuf Sserunkuma, cultural studies major with training in historical studies, the government did not design its response to tailor our local situation.
“Our very first problem was copy and paste. We picked responses from elsewhere and brought it here. What Uganda has done successfully is to reduce the pandemic to just infections,” he says.
“To say that we are concerned about people dying is a facade. The measures we implemented were out of context. In countries where governments shut down their economies, they froze rent, loans, and distributed food equally. It was not selective,” he adds.
However, Housing minister Chris Baryomunsi defends government actions, saying the response said Ugandans from dying.
“We have just surpassed the 1,000 mark with no deaths. The measures put in place by the government and positive response by the majority of Ugandans have helped us. Uganda has a very remarkable story,” he says.
“The story of COVID19 in Uganda has been fairly impressive. The early response has been a positive factor in managing it. Our scientists made predictions. If nothing was done by the end of April, we would have registered over 18,000 cases and lost 566 people on the disease’s account,” he adds.
Mr Sserunkuma’s remarks after Mulago hospital executive director Dr. Baterana Byarugaba said Ugandans should stop fearing the Coronavirus because the strain in the country is a mild form of flu, which does not require hospital admission.
“l told Ugandans right from the beginning that the type of Corona Virus we expect in Uganda is the mild one. It can be treated at Health Centers II, III IV or the district hospital,’ he told members of the Rotary Club of Kololo in Kampala on Tuesday.
“Some cases can be treated at home and do not need a referral unless the patient has other underlying sicknesses like cancer, diabetes, and hypertension,” he said.