By Jjunju Francis
The Federal Republic of Germany donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) worthy 100,000 Euros (approx. UGX 435 million) to 55 Catholic lower level health facilities in the fight against Covid-19.
The equipment that include gloves, foot and eye protection, hard hats and full body suits were donated through the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau (UCMB) of Uganda Episcopal Conference, targeting the eight border districts located within the Catholic dioceses of Arua, Hoima, Kabale, Kotido, Masaka, Mbarara, Moroto and Tororo. The eight districts are among the most at risk areas for Covid-19 in Uganda.
The PPEs were procured from the Joint Medical Stores, the second largest medical supply unit in the country that is jointly owned by the Catholic and the Anglican Churches.
The Germany Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Matthias Schauer on September 30, 2020 flagged off the truck carrying the equipment at Uganda Catholic Secretariat, Nsambya noting that the first 55 benefiting lower health units have got at least 900 health workers who need protection as they strive to save lives of Ugandans and refugees from the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Ambassador Schauer was happy with the contribution of the Catholic Church in the Uganda’s health sector with statistics indicating 59% of hospitals, 57% of health centre level IV, 62% of health center level III and 31% of health center level II. These health units serve 58% of the total number of out-patients, 68% of the admissions, 61% of the major surgeries, 63% of patients currently on Anti-retroviral treatment, 84% of patients on TB treatment and 64% of the deliveries.
The Chairman of the Health Commission of the Uganda Episcopal Conference and Bishop of Fort Portal Diocese, Rt. Rev. Robert Muhiirwa, appreciated the German Government for the generous support. He appealed for more support to cover all the 311 health units managed by the Catholic Church in Uganda, noting that these health units are serving all Ugandans and most especially those in need. He further noted that since the churches and other places of worship have re-opened, there is an urgent need for more protection of the people against Covid-19.
The Secretary General of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Msgr. John-Baptist Kauta, said that the support from friends and well-wishers should not be taken for granted and Ugandans should not relax because Covid-19 is deadly. It kills people of all ages and not only those who are above 65 years as it was being said.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau Dr. Sam Orach observed that Uganda had entered level four of the Covid-19 transmission whereby the infections are no longer just in clusters but wide spread in the communities. This he said has made the government health facilities to get overwhelmed, hence the need for more support through the private partnerships and more financial and material support from donors in order to protect Ugandans.
Dr. Orach expressed gratitude to the Germany government for the continued support towards the health services in Uganda through the Catholic Church under the BMZ (the German development ministry) and GLRA (German Leprosy and Relief Association) programs that have previously provided PPEs and support in the treatment of communicable diseases among refugees and refugee host communities and TB patients.
The function was attended by among others, Most Rev. Emmanuel Obbo of Tororo Archdiocese; Most Rev. Lambert Bainomugisha of Mbarara Archdiocese; Bishop Calistus Rubaramira of Kabale Diocese and the staff from the Germany Embassy and Uganda Catholic Secretariat.