Xandiaha
Bukenya Enock

Bukenya Enock

Diamond Trust Bank Uganda (DTBU) has signed a three (3) years humanitarian partnership with Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) aimed at saving lives. The partnership was entered today with a sign-off of the Memorandum of Understanding at the DTBU head offices on Kampala road.

The three years’ partnership is a commitment by DTBU management and staff on serving a healthy community. Under the MOU DTB will participate in saving more lives in Uganda through countrywide blood donor recruitment and mobilization, financial literacy trainings and Community volunteerism reach out activities working hand in hand with Uganda Red Cross Society.

While signing the partnership Memorandum of Understanding at the DTB offices today, Robert Kwesiga, Secretary General of Uganda Red Cross welcomed DTB on board as one of the corporate partners joining the National Society to support a humanitarian cause that will see more lives saved.

“URCS collaborates with a diversified portfolio of partners including the Government of Uganda, the United Nations, Red Cross National Societies, Civil Society organizations and private corporate entities among others. Having Diamond Trust Bank Uganda join the humanitarian cause to save more lives is uplifting the humanitarianism banner in Uganda, which we can only deliver through a multi-sectoral approach that not only involves organizations but individuals as well”. Kwesiga said.

Mr. Varghese Thambi Managing Director Diamong Trust Bank Uganda
signing the partnership papers.

Diamond Trust Bank Uganda Managing Director, - Varghese Thambi said, ‘We are in partnership with Uganda Red Cross Society to deepen our vision – Enabling people to advance with success and confidence. Good life, good health means wellbeing of society and a great business environment.

“We are committing to work with Uganda Red Cross Society and any other partner in the humanitarian space to positively impact on lives. When we operate in a healthy society we are sure business will grow and have a better economy,’ he adds.

DTBU has 34 branches across the country and will work with URCS’ 51 branches to be able to drive blood donation, build financial inclusions through Financial Literacy trainings and other initiatives under the signed MOU. DTBU is now a Corporate Member of the Uganda Red Cross and the membership will culminate into Volunteer opportunities for staff of DTB who will also offer various services within the community across the Country.

About Uganda Red Cross

Uganda Red Cross Society is a membership humanitarian organization incorporated in 1964, by an enactment of the Red Cross Act, Cap 57 of the laws of Uganda. Uganda Red Cross Society plays an auxiliary role to the Government of Uganda, to support humanitarian and emergency causes across the country in an impartial and independent manner, irrespective of race, nationality, ethnic background, political opinions or religious affiliations. URCS currently has 450,000 registered members and volunteers countrywide with Ten (10) Million beneficiaries and people reached during the period 2020 – 2021.

Mr. Robert Kwesiga Secretary General Uganda Red Cross Society
signing the partnership papers.

About DTB

Diamond Trust Bank Uganda (DTBU) is a member of the Aga Khan Development foundation with offices in Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda. DTBU has 34 branches, 51 ATMs and over 600 Agents across the country. Founded in 1946, DTB is regulated by the Bank of Uganda and offers an array of banking services to the population. The bank is an equal opportunities employer with 54% female staff with a mission; Make our customers prosper, staff excel and create value for our stakeholders.

For more information, contact:

Irene Nakasiita,

Head Communications, Resource Mobilization & Partnerships
Uganda Red Cross Society
Tel: 0755 000 695
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DTBU contact

Samuel Matekha Shikhongola,
Head Marketing and Communication
Diamond Trust Bank Uganda
Tel: +256 772 427188 / 0750427188
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Charles Komakech from the Office of the Prime Minister making his
remarks during the Cheque hand over.

MTN Foundation Joins Uganda Red Cross to support Kisoro mudslides and floods affected families, donates 51.2 million Shillings through the Uganda Red Cross.

Through their CSR arm, the MTN Foundation has this morning handed a dummy cheque worth 51,200,000/- to the Uganda Red Cross and OPM in a boardroom event that took place at MTN Headquarters, along Old Port-bell road, Kampala. The MTN General Manager for Corporate affairs Enid Edroma handed the dummy Cheque to Robert Kwesiga, Uganda Red Cross Secretary-General, and Charles Komakech - who represented the Ag. Commissioner - Office of the Prime Minister. While receiving the Cheque, Kwesiga thanked MTN Foundation for always coming through very fast to support the people of Uganda whenever a disaster occurs, and more so, through the Uganda Red Cross. ”We have always had a relationship with MTN in supporting disaster-affected communities in Uganda. Seeing MTN coming through to support the Kisoro community is a very great gesture considering the challenging times of COVID-19. Thank you for trusting the Red Cross and the OPM team to reach the affected people.” Kwesiga also added that according to Red Cross standard operating procedures, the response to disasters should be within the first 12 hours after the disaster occurs. And that is what the Red Cross did in Kisoro. “We delivered relief within 12 hours, although we supported 300/800 families. We selected the most vulnerable. With this additional support, we can reach more 500 and this will enable affected families to develop coping mechanisms.” Kwesiga added.

L-R Robert Kwesiga URCS Secretary General recieving a dummy Cheque from
the MTN General Manager Corporate affairs Enid Edroma at the MTN offices.

Enid Edroma, the MTN General Manager of Corporate Affairs thanked the Red Cross for always being first responders whenever disasters occur and appreciated the good working relationship exhibited with the Foundation over the years. “We are happy to also make a contribution of 51, 200, 00/= towards the Kisoro disaster response. We trust that the Red Cross will do a great job. We have always supported the Government too in a number of emergencies, including the Bunambutye resettlements for people affected by landslides in Bududa, who were moved to Bunambutye, the people who were relocated to Kiryandongo, among others.” Edroma noted

Charles Komaketch who represented the office of the Prime Minister, department of disaster response appreciated MTN and Red Cross for the good working relationship that yields support to affected families. “MTN supports the people of Uganda when disasters occur. We want to thank you for the support, and thank the Red Cross for the role they play in the disaster response operations in the Country.”

Uganda Red Cross will deliver more relief to cover about 500 people who did not benefit from the initial support delivered on 26th, 27th, and 28th January 2022. Within 12 hours after the floods and mudslides incident that hit Kisoro district late last month, Uganda Red Cross delivered 300 Nonfood relief Item Kits to the most affected families in Kisoro. 9 lives were claimed in this incident and the Red Cross provided dead body bags, offered psychosocial support and continues to work with the district disaster management committee for Kisoro to strengthen district contingency plans and response capacities.

URCS presented a token of appreciation to MTN Foundation
Uganda Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Officer supporting one of
the beneficiries to carry his Non food Items

Uganda RedCross delivers relief aid to 300 disaster affected families in Kisoro Due to torrential rains, areas around Mt. Muhabura in Kisoro district, western Uganda experienced flooding and mudslides on Tuesday 25.1.2022.

Over 800 people were affected, with 9 dead. A Joint assessment of the affected area was conducted involving the Uganda RedCross, Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), the Police, Wild life Authority, Kisoro District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) led by the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) and members of the affected communities.

The affected Sub-Counties include Nyarusiza, Muramba and Bunagana. Uganda Red Cross Response Uganda Red Cross Kisoro branch Volunteers led by the Branch Manager responded immediately to support emergency evacuations, search and rescue for the missing persons, offered psycho-social support among immediate actions.

The Branch also provided 9 dead body bags to aid the decent management of the retrieved bodies. Relief Aid On Wednesday 26.1.2022, Uganda Redcross with support from European Union (ECHO) through a consortium with Netherlands Red Cross, International Federation of the Redcross / RedCrescent activated immediate response within 24 hours. "300 most affected families were selected for this relief aid.

We have coordinated with the Office of Prime Minister who will also be sending more support in form of food and non food relief to the affected communities. We thank our partners who enable us to have pre-positioned relief stock that we can immediately utilize when such disasters occur.

One of the houses that were submerged by landslides

This support supplements what we have already offered as life saving interventions and we believe this will enable them develop coping mechanisms. " Irene Nakasiita, Uganda Red Cross Spokes Person. Honorable Esther Anyakun, the Minister of State for Disasters from the Office of the Prime Minister joined the response and appreciated the fast response made by the Uganda Red Cross Society. "We thank Red Cross for coming in so fast to save the situation.

The Government through the Office of the Prime Minister has also prepared food and non food relief kits and this will be coming through soon. We have also prepared 500,000/= for every family that lost someone and I am here to pass on the condolences to the families. We will work with your district leadership and Members of Parliament from your district to see how to find land and relocate the displaced families." Anyakun added.

The district leadership mentioned that this is the first kind of heavy flooding and mudslide disaster they have experienced since time in memorial. "We request the Government to support us to establish the cause and source of the mud and such heavy flooding. We have failed to know where this water came from. We need experts to come and go to the mountains to conduct thorough research.

We also request a team from all concerned Ministries of Government to come for a Joint assessment exercise to help us restore the affected infrastructure. We need roads, water sources, livelihoods and all Government departments and Ministries responsible should come in to help us." Said Hon. Sarah Mateke, Woman MP for Kisoro, who also doubles as the Minister of State for Youths. With support from EU - ECHO through a consortium coordinated by Netherlands Red Cross & IFRC, Uganda Red Cross is supporting different districts to strengthen Disaster Preparedness & Response and Kisoro is one of them.

Hon Esther Anyakun (Middle) supporting relief distribution in Kisoro

Kisoro has been supported to re-activate the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC), development of a Multi hazard District Contingency Plan (DCP) in line with the Disaster Policy of Uganda 2011. The Contingency plans developed in the districts are coordinated by the District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs) with the support of Uganda Red Cross and other partners.

The timely activation of the Contingency Plan informed the early response to the Kisoro floods and mudslide incident within 24 hours. Uganda Red Cross used pre-positioned stock from Kabarole Ware House and quickly deployed a trained team of fast Responders to support the affected communities.

Red Cross will soon activate a Crisis Modifier to enable access to Multi-Purpose Cash to support families that lost businesses and livelihoods. "Cash enables affected families to make choices of what they need to buy amidst disasters.

This allows them a chance to maintain their dignity, as opposed to predetermined relief which may not necessarily address the immediate needs of the people." Frank Namara - ECHO supported Consortium Manager - Disaster Preparedness & Response

Uganda Red Cross Volunteer helps in putting extinguishing a care on
fire after the bomb explosion

Uganda Red Cross Responds to Bomb Explosions in Kampala Kampala – November 16th, 2021 Time check 12:00 PM Uganda Red Cross has today responded and supported 17 causalities who were injured in the bomb explosion in Kampala.

Other responders such as the Police have also handled other cases and numbers are likely to change. Today, 2 bomb explosion incidents were reported in Kampala at about 10:00 AM.

One was reported around the Central Police Station, and another at Jubilee Insurance building along Parliamentary Avenue. Our Response 17 cases were handed by the Red Cross emergency response team. 12 were critical and referred to Mulago National Referral Hospital 5 received on scene care and were discharged Ambulances deployed - 3 First responders and Emergency Medical technicians – 50 Response in coordination with Police, Ministry of Health, and KCCA.

One ambulance deployed at Nansana where another bomb scare has been reported at 12:40PM

Uganda Red Cross First Aid responders giving attending to one of the
victims of the Bomb explosion

WHO WE ARE

The Uganda Red Cross is a local humanitarian agency that responds to emergencies in the country to save lives of vulnerable people. We are established by an Act of Parliament in Uganda in 1964.

(The Red Cross Act, Cap57), a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that draws mandates from the Geneva Conventions and additional protocols.

Mission: To fulfil the URCS mandate and obligation in delivering quality and sustainable humanitarian assistance.

Vision: A Partner of Choice in Uganda in Saving Lives, Building Resilient Communities, and Promoting Human Dignity.

Bomb explosion in Kampala
A Uganda Red Cross Volunter puting an arm bracelet on a refugee at Nyakabande
Transit Center after regestration

On 7th November 2021, heavy fighting between armed forces began in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the areas of Runyonyi and Tshanzu around the Virunga Mountains a few miles away from Uganda.

The fighting caused a huge population movement from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Uganda.

Egbeble Mohamed moved from DR-Congo with his family and shares with us; “It was midnight, many people were sleeping but I was still awake. I heard gun shots and in a short time, people were running. I too feared and joined the group running. Our family is not far from the Uganda border Bunagana. We found ourselves here.” Mohamed narrates.

By morning on 8th November, thousands of Refugees had gathered at Bunagana Primary School in Bunagana town council and Kibaya market. Uganda Red Cross Kisoro branch deployed volunteers to work alongside the district officials to support and offer lifeline support to the new arrivals. “We worked with the district officials. We had heard news of the fighting early in the morning, and already many people had camped at Bunagana primary school. Many were tired and needed rest so the Kisoro District Disaster Management Committee resolved that they should be taken to Nyakabamde Transit Center to acquire basic needs like medication and food. “As Uganda Red Cross we supported in the registering of those coming in as well as helping in tracing those that could not see their relatives through the restoring family links program, gave first aid to the injured, helped children to cross busy roads and gave families psychosocial support.” Prim Rose Natukunda, Uganda Red Cross Kisoro branch.

Offering lifeline information to the new arrivals

Rukundo Manasseh Assistant Chief Administrative Officer and the Chairperson of the District Disaster Management Committee noted that the numbers were overwhelming but they tried to support with help from partners such as Red Cross. “We didn’t want to get other risks such as disease outbreaks like Cholera, Ebola or Covid 19. By morning, teams from Uganda Red Cross were on ground registering and offering support to the refugees." Rukundo added.

According to the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) report of 8th November, an estimated number of 5000 people had fled to Uganda due to the fighting. However, on 9th November, the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo had calmed down which made some of the refugees go back home.

Currently about 1100 refugees are still at Nyakabande Transit Center and are receiving aid from the Partners on ground and the Government of Uganda.

Uganda Red Cross Volunteer helping children to cross the busy Bunagana
border point
Fatuma Kiyang receives a Menstrual Hygiene Management kit

Fatuma Kiyang is a 17-year old South Sudanese refugee who fled to Uganda when the armed conflict destabilized Southern Sudan. She, like many other young girls, have made their home in village A of zone 3 West of the Palorinya Refugee Settlement.

Palorinya Refugee Settlement has approximately 2,221 girls aged between 12 and 17 years who go to school. Due to the lack of menstrual health hygiene materials, the girls find it hard to access clean, and adequate menstrual hygiene materials to use during menstrual cycles, which results in them missing school.

Due to this lack of proper menstrual health and hygiene management, 60% of the girls miss up to three days of school attendance each month, which greatly affects their academic performance. 5% of the female learners drop out of school completely because of lack of decent, adequate, and hygienic materials to use resulting in early marriages and teenage pregnancies.

To address this, Uganda Red Cross Society with support from the German Red Cross and supplementary funding from the Swiss Red Cross, procured 1,458 menstrual hygiene management kits which were distributed to 251 girls residing in the Palorinya Refugee Settlement. Each of the kits included reusable sanitary pads, a bucket, Kitengi, hanging line rope, a bar of soap, and pegs.

Fatuma is among girls who received menstrual hygiene management kits. She comes from a very poor family which cannot afford to buy sanitary pads at 3500/= each packet for the girl during menstruation every month.

Gune Sylvia, the Senior Woman Teacher is also responsible for
Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management at Idiwa Parents Senior
Secondary School


Fatuma says, “Before I received the menstrual management kits, I suffered from periods. I used pieces of cloth cut from used fabrics. Blood at times passed through and I had a bad smell. I hid from people for fears of laughing at me which made me miss school during my menstrual days”. She added that “No one was there to provide the pads to use. No soap to bath and used pads were hanged in dirty places for fears of other people seeing them. However, the situation changed when the Red Cross came to my school with the good news of distributing menstrual hygiene kits to selected girls”.

Gune Sylvia, the Senior Woman Teacher at Idiwa Parents Senior Secondary School teaches the students on menstrual health management, mentions that “Fatuma is one of the vibrant and active students who deserved not to miss out on the kits”.

Fatuma now happily attends school regularly without worrying about soiling herself during her periods. She adds that “No one in class including the boys tells when I am in my periods. I concentrate and pay attention to what the teachers teach, and I participate actively in class. The kit helped to boost my confidence. Thank you so much the Swiss Red Cross for the support. The kit has helped to keep me in school, I am no longer worried about dropping out of school because I have hygiene materials to use”.

The completed and fully equipped Bunambutye Resettlement Health
Center 3

Prime Minster, Rt. Hon Robinah Nabanja Commissions Bunambutye Resettlement Health Center III in Bulambuli District.

In August 2020, the Government of Uganda entrusted the Uganda Red Cross Society with funding to construct a Health Center III in the Bunambutye Resettlement Center in Bulambuli district. The Health Center 3 is intended to help improve the health care for the people that were displaced from Bududa district due to severe flooding.

A year later, on 27th August 2021, the fully equipped operational Health Center 3 was officially handed over to the Government of Uganda and commissioned by the Prime Minister; Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabanja to commence full-scale operation.

URCS Secretary General, Robert Kwesiga noted that, “We were privileged when the Uganda Government gave us the responsibility of constructing this health center in Bunambutye". He was proud that the Society was handing over a completed Health Facility fully-equipped with the best equipment and already in operation.

The Secretary General also thanked the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of health for closely working with Uganda Red Cross to make sure that the construction work is successfully completed.

The Health Facility has been equipped with all the necessary medical equipment and staff needed for its operation. The Facility consists of one Out-Patient Department block, a General Maternity ward, a Twin staff house, and one block of two-stance VIP Lined pit latrines.

URCS Secretary General Robert Kwesiga speaks at commissioning
of the Bunambutye HC3.

It also has two block of four-stance VIP lined Pit latrines, a Gatehouse, one incinerator, a placenta pit, one medical waste pit, and staff quarters. It was also equipped with a solar lighting system.

Hon. Hanifa Kawoya, the State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties appreciated the Uganda Red Cross for executing the assignment on time and for being very good stewards of the resources that were entrusted to them. While giving her remarks, the Prime Minister Rt. Hon Robinah Nabanja thanked Uganda Red Cross for always complimenting on government efforts in responding to human needs. The Prime Minister also encouraged the community to utilize the health center and added that her office and the Ministry of Health were committed to recruiting a medical Doctor for every Health Center III.

The construction was closely supervised by an inter-government agency committee that was coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister under the Ministry of Disaster and Refugees, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the Ministry of Local Government and the Bulambuli Local Government Technical Team.

The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja commissions Bunambutye
Health Center 3
A Wakiso community member receiving his vaccine while a URCS Volunteer
looks on

Acting on the wrong information can kill. In the first three months of 2020, nearly 6,000 people around the globe were reported hospitalized because of coronavirus misinformation, a WHO research suggests. During this period, researchers say at least 800 people may have died due to misinformation related to COVID-19.

Misinformation and rumors on COVID-19 are just as prevalent in Uganda, with Uganda Red Cross’ Tracking system showing upwards of 45,600 rumors and misinformation about COVID-19 circulating in communities around the country since the Coronavirus was first registered in Uganda in March 2020.

“Some people were thinking that COVID-19 was not there in Uganda because a myth was out there that COVID-19 does not affect Africans. That it is a disease for the white man. Another rumor that was there was that this was a deliberate tool of government to use this to deny some people a chance to campaign during elections”, elaborates Prize Tayebwa URCS Kampala West, Branch Manager.

“People lack information and those who have information, some have wrong information. People have various information about COVID, concerning the treatment and how it is spread”, says Tom Mulondo URCS Volunteer in Entebbe.

Rumors and misinformation create a breeding ground for uncertainty. Uncertainty fuels distrust, creating an environment of fear, finger-pointing, anxiety, stigma and even dismissal of proven health measures - which can lead to loss of life.

URCS Volunteers combating COVID-19 rumors and misinformation
through community engagement and door to door visits

“Some people were also doing a lot of steaming and taking a lot of ginger and garlic, and yet they did not have corona and we actually got a number of people who developed acute ulcers. And the problem was that they were taking lemon, ginger and garlic daily in large quantities, trying to vaccinate themselves so that they do not get the corona virus”, says Tom Mulondo.

To try and control what the World Health Organization has termed as the COVID-19 infodemic (a combination of facts and myths on any given topic), Uganda Red Cross Society with the Village COVID Task Force Teams, that were set up to drive the National Community Engagement Strategy, are engaging communities and distributing content, answering questions one-on-one or in communal gatherings, to combat the spread of rumors and misinformation.

Prize Tayebwa continues that, “The volunteers were trained and given all the information about COVID-19 and so in these communities, we were able to engage the people to tell them that, this is not witchcraft, this is a scientific disease which will go away with scientific measures and SOPs are one of them and then vaccination is another one”.

Through community engagement and the availability of answers to their questions, communities are coming round to behavioral change and following the guidelines and information being given to them through trusted sources.

Henry Nsamba, the Branch Manager of Wakiso attributes this to the teamwork done by the Village Task Force teams. He says, “We move as a team. This team includes URCS Volunteers, Village Health Team members, cultural and religious leaders, local council leaders and we have built community trust and now they are listening to us”.

URCS’ Information Tracking Dashboard showing over 45,000 rumors and
misinformation circulating in communities

By August 2021, over 2,000 Village Task Force (VTF) teams had been formed in communities around the country. The VTF teams have so far engaged with over 359,455 people with risk communication information.

In the early days of the pandemic, much of the misinformation and rumors focused on whether COVID-19 was real, or if it was even as serious as was being portrayed to warrant the wearing of masks, as well as numerous herbal treatments and cures. A year into the pandemic, vaccines are being rolled out, and information about them — some reliable and some not — is everywhere. The Village Task Force Teams and URCS Volunteers are in the communities addressing the misconceptions and misinformation.

Henry Nsamba continues that, “People thought that the vaccines were not safe and that when they are vaccinated, they will die in a few months. But through the risk communication, going from community to community, we have been able to tell them that we ourselves have been vaccinated and we are alive and healthy. And now we are seeing large crowds at health centers waiting for the vaccine”.

Although the COVID-19 infodemic cannot be wiped out completely, it is being managed through the Community Engagement Strategy, and the low numbers of COVID-19 infections and community spread after the easing of the lockdown, can be attributed to this. By showing people how to recognize and report misinformation and improve their media literacy, we can keep at bay the effects of the infodemic scourge and save lives. *World Health Organization April 2021

Community member washing hands at URCS donated handwashing facility
in Bugolobi market

Uganda Red Cross Implements the Community Engagement Strategy on COVID-19 With positive cases and deaths mounting every day, and hospitals and the health care system stretched to capacity, it fell to alternative means of action to curb the spread of the virus into the communities of Uganda.

Community engagement is central to any public health intervention. Its importance is even more significant during public health emergencies. And this became more so in Uganda’s fight against COVID-19, when on 8th June 2021, a record number of 1,438 people tested positive for COVID-19 in a single day. The second wave of the pandemic was confirmed in Uganda and a 42-day lockdown initiated to curb its spread in the communities.

During the experience of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020, Government of Uganda mounted an early vigorous and proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, by undertaking a number of measures to prevent its spread. One of these measures included the establishment of the National COVID-19 Task Force, through which a National Community Engagement Strategy (CES) was drafted. This Community Engagement Strategy was to help raise awareness, build trust and enforce compliance with COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). For this to be achieved, behavioral change is needed at a grass-root level.

URCS Volunteers conducting risk communication in the community

Empowering individuals and communities is based on the premise that good health starts with, and is created by individuals, their families and the communities, and is supported, where necessary, by skills, knowledge and technology of the professionals. Individuals have the primary responsibility for maintaining their own health and that of their communities facilitating and ensuring that infections are minimized and do not occur in the community and if they occur, will be promptly identified, tested, treated and rehabilitated as needed.

To enable this empowerment at grass-root level, over 2,000 Village COVID Task Forces have been formed across the country, that include Uganda Red Cross members, Local Council members , Cultural and Religious leaders, and Village Health Team members.

The main functions of the Village COVID Task Force were to conduct community based surveillance and case detection including deaths, community case management including supporting self-isolation, community based drug distribution and referrals as appropriate, community contact-tracing and reporting, community shielding of vulnerable members, strategic communication, creating awareness, information and education to gain and hold the trust of the communities.

“We have so far constructed 15 village task forces in Entebbe, where VHTs and some of the local council committee members were trained on how to go into the villages and visit homes and teach them on how Home Based Care (HBC) is working. What caregivers can do to help those patients on HBC and how they can reduce the spread of COVID to other family members”, says Davitah Nuwashaba Branch Manager;

“We reach out to house to house educating people about COVID-19, the signs and symptoms, where to get help and what to do to stay safe as well as supporting those who might be positive or those who seek testing and treatment services and where they can find them”, says Prize Tayebwa, URCS Branch Manager for Kampala West.

Village Task Force team meeting to plan for risk communication and
community engagement.

Since its roll out of the Community Engagement Strategy in February 2021 in the greater Kampala Area including Wakiso and Mukono districts, URCS has since reached over 359,455 people with the COVID-19 behavioral change messages.

Handwashing is crucial in the fight against COVID-19. While conducting community surveillance, the VTF teams were able to identify communal areas that needing handwashing facilities and disinfection assistance. Over 200 handwashing facilities and tippy taps have been installed in market places and facilities in the greater Kampala area as well as WakisoDistricts.

“Recently a case of COVID-19 was reported at the Mapeera Bakateyamba Home in Rubaga, so when we accessed the area there was a need for vaccination because these are very elderly people who are vulnerable. We also went and fumigated the area, disinfected it and then we requested for support of hand washing facilities, which included tanks and buckets and soap as well as masks for those who take care of the elderly vulnerable people”, says Prize Tayebwa, Branch Manager Kampala West.

The Village Task Force Teams have been able to monitor the different cases of COVID-19 undergoing Home Based Care and also address over 45,000 rumors and misinformation that are hindering the fight against COVID-19.

Uganda is a leader in preparedness and emergency response in the control of infectious disease outbreaks for over decades, and an example to other countries all over the world. This preparedness and community engagement response is acknowledged to have successfully contained emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases including COVID-19. Because of this, Uganda was accordingly ranked as the best performer in Africa by the Lancet Review.

Over 400,000 Red Cross Volunteers to support local authorities in implementing the National Community Engagement Strategy on COVID-19 Prevention.

The government of Uganda together with the Uganda Red Cross society and other stake holders held a media briefing at the office of the prime minister to roll out the community engagement strategy on 26th November 2020 at the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Rt. Hon Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda presided over the briefing. In his address he noted with concern the level of complacency in the communities at a time when Uganda should be tightening vigilance.

According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda is currently experiencing phase four of COVID-19 outbreak with at least 70 districts reporting cases weekly amidst low levels of adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs as guided by the Health experts and the Presidential directives on the same.The objective of the community engagement strategy is to draw attention of the general public to COVID-19 as a reality and also recruit public support.

The Prime Minister noted that the Government will immediately undertake the roll out of COVID-19 Strategy, involving village task forces which will be established at every village level. He further explained that village COVID-19 task forces will go a long way in addressing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

“The village task forces will carry out prompt identification of COVID-19 cases, guide and support prompt testing and sensitization of the communities. Our aim is to have all people in Uganda aware and participating actively in preventing the spread of COVID-19 both as a duty and as a right” Said the Premier.

The village task force will be comprised of Local Councils, District Chief Administration Officers, Resident District Commissioners, and Village Health Teams who will work closely with the Uganda Red Cross Volunteers to carry out community sensitization and enforce the SOPs on COVID-19 prevention.

The Uganda Red Cross Secretary General Robert Kwesiga highlighted that Uganda Red Cross society will deploy over 400,000 volunteers to complement the Government efforts in rolling out the National Community Engagement Strategy. “We the non-state actors have a contribution to make while fighting the pandemic. Let’s bring financial, human, technical resources on board to add to the government resources and manage the pandemic. Uganda Red Cross has committed resources and we have already started in Kampala, and other high risk areas in the Country.” Kwesiga added.

Kwesiga also said the Uganda Red Cross society will ensure that the community engagement strategy is rolled out to the community level and upscale the efforts in curbing the spread of COVID-19 with support from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. Professor Francis Omaswa the Chairperson of the National Community Engagement Subcommittee said the basic tool for fighting COVID-19 is at village level and that is why the Strategy is placing the responsibility in the hands of the citizens through their local leaders. To access copy of the National Community Engagement Strategy, Please click here

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URCS Contacts

Plot 551/555 Rubaga Road.
P.O. Box 494, Kampala Uganda.
Tel:     (256) 414 258701
Tel:     (256) 414 258702
Email: sgurcs@redcrossug.org

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