KAMPALA – Uganda, just like any other country has often been on the verge of infectious diseases like Covid-19 and currently battling Ebola.
Stakeholders are optimistic that with the adoption of regular handwashing, the risk of the spread of these diseases is mitigated.
Speaking to the press during the commemoration of Global Handwashing Day under the theme “Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene” at Onomo Hotel in Kampala, the players including Amref, Safe Boda, Unilever Uganda, National Compact on Coronavirus, Population Services International (PSI) noted that by investing in Hygiene Behavioural Change, quality health care, and empowering communities with critical hygiene information, communities will win many health challenges and relieve the burden of disease treatment in health facilities.
Prof. Myriam Sidibe, Chairperson – the National Compact on Coronavirus and Founder of National Business Compact noted that the campaign dubbed “Remember The Password” is currently running in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and is geared at tackling and limiting the spread of infections of coronavirus and other hygiene diseases.
“The importance of this campaign especially with the upcoming crisis of Ebola in Uganda is for everyone to think of making handwashing part of their daily life, though it sounds very simple as a behaviour.”
The Hygiene Behavioral Change Coalition program that is led by Amref Health Africa as the principal lead is a 3.5 million pounds grant for three East African countries.
The initiative aims at scaling up the fight against COVID-19 and other hygiene-related diseases by influencing the adoption of hygiene behaviours to help protect lives and livelihoods from the pandemic and others.
Dr. Patrick Kagurutsi from Amref noted that this is intended at limiting the spread of infections by sustainably improving preventative hygiene practices and contributing to protective lives and livelihood.
“For Amref Health Africa in Uganda, we are implementing two districts of Kampala and Wakiso which have been gazed by the Ministry of Health as hotspots of many viral diseases including COVID-19 and now Ebola.”
“Covid-19 is still here and active in some countries, so, we need to get vaccinated especially those with comorbidities, it’s important they get their booster dose. I want to call upon the country also to remember that we are here with Ebola and one of the ways to prevent it is to maintain hand washing at all times. People at higher risk of contracting Ebola are health workers, people in clinics and those at home with people who are infected with Ebola. So, we really need to advance hand washing with soap to prevent both Covid-19 and Ebola,” said Dr. Kagurutsi.
Ricky Papa – CEO and Co-founder – Safe Boda challenged the private sector players to join the campaign, raise awareness and save lives which will in turn increase their sales.
“This calls for working together to create awareness. This is why we are calling on the private sector to be aware that for our businesses to stay here, we need to make sure that the people that provide a service are safe but also the people that receive the service.”
“If you are left alone, even if you are given the whole of this hotel, you can even run away and leave it. I want to commit that Safe Boda is here for a long run in this campaign,” he added.
This program is running on four main objectives of;
Promoting hygiene, public health and social measures by reaching at risk vulnerable populations in targeted areas through mass and digital media hence limiting the rapid spread of new SARS-COV2 variants,
Improving personal and environmental hygiene, through interpersonal communication and an enabling environment for WASH,
Improving vaccination uptake by incorporating vaccination messages with hygiene messaging, and strengthening health systems for sustained hygiene and prevention and control of COVID-19.