KAMPALA – Buganda Kingdom in support of the Ministry of Health COVID -19 response in Uganda have today launched the ‘Gwanga Mujje drums’ initiative, which is a behavioural change push primarily aimed at highlighting the need for the general public to ensure that the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are observed to prevent further spread of the virus within the various communities in which we live. The COVID-19 response in Uganda is supported by the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, World Health Organization and USAID.
This follows a general laxity on the part of the general public towards the COVID-19 disease where many are seen not wearing masks, gathering in large crowds and believing wrong unfounded myths about the pandemic.
The Katikiro of Buganda Kingdom – Owekitibwa Peter Mayiga while sounding the Gwanga Mujje drums during the official launch event held at Bulange Mengo called upon fellow Ugandans to not let their guards down with the COVID -19 Standard Operating Procedures provided by the Ministry of Health because this is a pandemic that should be taken with the seriousness of the dangers it poses.
He called upon fellow Ugandans through the Gwanga Mujje drums initiative to pause for a moment every day at 7.30am and 4.30pm to reflect on COVID-19, encourage each other through praying for someone who is sick and families that have lost loved ones, giving or reaching out to someone, let them know that you care and above all, observe COVID – 19 SOPs.
He cautioned Gwanga Ugandans to always wear masks at all times while in public, wash hands or sanitize as often as possible, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth before washing their hands, keep social distance, stay home if there is no need to move and seek medical assistance in case they experience any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
Government of Uganda was represented by Joyce Ssebuggwawo, the Minister of State for Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance who thanked all partners involved in the COVID-19 fight in Uganda, and more specifically for the Kingdom of Buganda for launching the Gwanga Mujje drums initiative that will go along-way in creating inter-personal communication between communities which will in turn generate wide spread positive word-of-mouth towards the fight against COVID-19.
Since the COVID -19 pandemic broke out globally in March 2020, and with Uganda having a recent resurgence of infections in June 2021, every individual and family has experienced the negative social, economic, and cultural effects of the pandemic. Currently, the cumulative cases stand at 122,277 with 95,897 Recoveries, Deaths at 3,129 and Vaccination doses at 1,777,685. These figures alone and the fact that even the younger population has also been affected this time round, should stand as a caution to fellow Ugandans to observe the Standard Operating Procedures, issued by the Ministry of Health.
The Katikiro cautioned that the health of the population is central to the socio-economic development of the country and yet unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant threat to it. ‘The Gwanga Mujje drums initiative will therefore use interpersonal communication channels to reach out to the general public to demystify the myths, rumours and misinformation regarding the disease, which are partly accelerated by the fact that some members of the general public do not have immediate access to instant COVID-19 precautionary messages sent via other platforms such as social media, print, radio and television.
The Gwanga Mujje drums initiative will be run by – DreamLine Products, a local firm to support the intensified community mobilization, which will focus primarily on using community mobilizers, community audio towers (ebizidalo) and the Gwanga Mujje drums as a behavioural push nudge to bring disruption and also draw attention to the COVID – 19 SOPs in an interpersonal manner.
The Katikiro concluded by noting that the Gwanga Mujje drums initiative which will start at grass root level will engage 175 sub – county chiefs and will be a step towards speaking to the hearts of everyone and together, we shall stand strong in the face of this defiant pandemic.