KAMPALA – Challenge in Uganda
Like other countries, Uganda is not certain where this will end. The developed countries have organized residences and they don’t have backyards where they grow bananas, potatoes, maize and vegetables. They buy all their foodstuffs from organized shops. Staying at home is easy and going to shop can be organized. A person may avoid talking to another for days and weeks other than on phone. Online purchases also minimize human contact. To the contrary most Ugandan, indeed Africans have no organized addresses where you will find them. This is of course possible in towns but not in slums. But even in towns there is no order not in slums. It is possible in the developed countries to lock yourself up in your home and have no contact with anybody.
This is not the case in Uganda. In urban areas many people live in one room homes. It is possible that up 6 people may stay in such a room! They cook from outside and share latrines and bathrooms. Too much contact. We are simply vulnerable and indeed in large numbers. Rwanda gave instructions to its people not to leave their homes. I wonder how it is working. We may pick a lesson. But like Uganda and indeed many African countries if somebody comes from the urban areas or from abroad with the virus it will spread like a bush fire in the rural communities or slums. Without resources, African countries will really experience the hardest times they have even seen as people may die in thousands every day.
How did China Manage
We can pick lessons from China. China has been a success story in managing the pandemic. It took tough measures reported as draconian.
China still has some few rural arears which are similar to Uganda and other African countries. But today China is mostly developed. But how did they do it. This is where the virus is reported to have started. It looked like a Chinese problem.
China closed off towns and areas where the virus was reported. They built the marvel hospital. They indeed identified each case and treated it depending on the extent, they tested all who were associated with an identified case. They restricted movement of people and they won!
China now reports no new incidents. They had the political will, they coercive power, they had science capabilities and money to control the virus and they did. Compare to Uganda or any other African country.
The science and money are things we don’t have, while we may the political will and coercive power, corruption can put holes in whatever policy we may evolve. It’s now more than ever that we need God on our side (but remember few Europeans believe in God so they will not support us as we pray). But most important we need to be conscious of the problem. We must plan how to respond to defeat it.
Waswa Balunywa is a scholar in management, leadership and entrepreneurship.