KAMPALA – Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has requested Parliament to approve a supplementary budget of Shs 4bn to implement a Covid-19 response plan in the greater Kampala metropolitan area.
The response plan aims at scaling up Covid vaccine uptake, compliance to standard operating procedures and a surveillance mechanism to prevent any upsurge in Covid cases.
Led by the Minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, Minsa Kabanda, KCCA tabled its request before Parliament’s Committee on Budget on Friday, 5 November 2021.
The Director Public Health Services and Environment at KCCA, Dr. Daniel Okello, presented the budget and asked legislators to appreciate the fact that Kampala is the most hit area, loading onto KCCA the responsibility to offer curative and preventive services amidst a small resource envelope.
Okello says the authority operates on only three ambulances to serve a population of four million, which he said leaves a big gap in emergency services for both Covid and other cases.
“KCCA has a fleet of three ambulances, we borrow five on-call ambulances from the Ministry of Health and three on-call ambulances from [Uganda] Red Cross Society, which are inadequate given the demand,” said Okello.
KCCA requested for an additional seven ambulances estimated at a cost of Shs 1.5bn to respond to emergency cases beyond Covid.
Okello presented a community engagement strategy for scaling up the uptake of Covid vaccination through outreaches and sensitization, in order to hit their one million target.
This he said will require KCCA to functionalise its call centre to easily connect with people in need of emergency services as well as providing timely information.
“The KCCA centre functions on 24-hour basis and considering that it plays a critical role, we need to fund staffing costs, maintenance of the ambulance stations and special meals for staff in the call centre and ambulance drivers,” said Okello adding that “we realize that when you don’t provide meals for ambulance drivers they go look for meals and may not be available when needed.”
KCCA plans to install permanent handwashing facilities in selected areas of the city, saying the temporary hand washing stations provided have been vandalized.
“We piloted two permanent stations in health facilities and now we want to put such permanent stations in places such as markets,” Okello said.
KCCA will train village health teams and facilitate them to provide home-based care for asymptomatic Covid patients as a way of reducing congestion in health facilities.
Okello added that KCCA requires at least two motorcycles for each of its five divisions to support their community engagement plan.
MPs on the budget committee were receptive to the KCCA request recognizing the burden KCCA shoulders in the prevention and control of the pandemic.
“I pray the committee sees it fit to back up KCCA because Kampala is the epicenter of Covid-19,” said Hon Ronald Balimwezo (NUP, Nakawa East).
The Minister of State for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs. Hon Kyofatogabye Kabuye said there is hope that with the supplementary budget approved, KCCA will improve vaccine coverage and Covid prevention.
“We asked Cabinet for shs 4bn to help us bridge the gap within the vaccination program in the city and also help the Ministry of Health. In fact, much of the money will go into vaccination, sensitization and ensure SOPs adherence,” said Kabuye.
Parliament learnt that 49 percent of the KCCA target population has been vaccinated with the first dose, while 15 percent received the second dose.