Over 400,000 Red Cross Volunteers to support local authorities

Tuesday, 01 December 2020 08:47 Written by

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

National Community Engagement Strategy for COVID-19 Response in Uganda

Thursday, 29 October 2020 10:27 Written by
Uganda Red Cross Secretary General Mr. Robert Kwesiga addressing the Press
at the launch of the Community Engagement Strategy , at Hotel Africana

Uganda Red Cross joins the Government of Uganda to launch the National Community Engagement Strategy for COVID-19 Response in Uganda.

Kampala – October 20th, 2020 By Irene Nakasiita – Coordinator Communications and Public Relations - URCS

On October 20th, 2020, the Government of Uganda launched the National Community Engagement Strategy for COVID-19 response to curb the spread of the Corona Virus in communities. Uganda is currently experiencing phase four of COVID-19 outbreak with widespread community transmission amidst low levels of adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs as guided by the Ministry of Health.

Through a consultative process, the government directed that the Community Engagement Strategy (CES) Sub Committee be established which has been merged with the Community Health Committee to form the National Community Engagement Strategy, chaired Prof. Omaswa. The Uganda Red Cross is a member of the National Taskforce and an implementing partner of the strategy.

While launching this strategy at a function organized by Uganda Red Cross Society and held at hotel Africana in Kampala on 20th October 2020, the Prime minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said the approach will ensure that all people in Uganda are aware, empowered and participate actively in the prevention and control of COVID-19 as both a duty and a right using the existing structures, systems and resources. “We shall be handing over the responsibility to control COVID-19 to individual Ugandans, households and communities. All stakeholders should ensure that this strategy which has worked in managing and handling other diseases like Ebola and HIV is effectively implemented.” The Premier added.

The strategy will be implemented by different government ministries including Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Defense as well as non-government agencies. Civil Society Organizations have also been brought on board through the Uganda Red Cross Society and the African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST).

Prof. Francis Omaswa the chairperson of the CES subcommittee said that under this strategy, every village will be required to establish a village COVID-19 task force which will provide community based surveillance and case detection including deaths, Community case management including self-isolation, community based drug distribution and referrals as appropriate, community contact tracking and reporting among other roles.

“The task force which will be headed by the respective village chairpersons and councils will also include Village Health Team members one of whom will be a full time community health worker, a Uganda Red Cross Society officer at branch / community level, the parish chief, CDOs, Religious leaders, Schools representatives, health facility representatives, CSOs, volunteers and private sector among others” Said Prof. Omaswa.

Robert Kwesiga the Secretary General Uganda Red Cross Society one of the key partners said they will be part of the teams that will be coordinating the activities of this community engagement right from the district to the village level. Uganda Red Cross will also train all key players using the expertise from previous cases managed like Ebola and the IFRC Community Engagement Approach.

“Our managers at districts will work with the district health teams in coordinating the activities of this community engagement during training, monitoring and support supervision. Our volunteers are going to be part of these community engagement committees that will be responsible for real time sharing of information, education surveillance and making sure that if there are cases they are referred.” Said Kwesiga.

To date, Uganda has registered 10,788 COVID-19 cases, 7,066 recoveries and 97 deaths.

Uganda Red Cross Society Constructs Boreholes in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 19:22 Written by
Community Members praying over the new constructed borehole at the
day of commissioning it

Uganda Red Cross Society Constructs Boreholes in Kyangwali refugee settlement (Maratatu D-24) and Nabisojjo village (Hosting Community).

Two production wells have been constructed in Kyangwali refugee settlement and Nabisojjo village, Kyangwali parish, Kikuube district by the Uganda Red Cross in partnership with International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The borehole constructed in the host community (Nabisojjo) will serve 98 households with approximately 540 individuals, while the one in the refugee settlement (Kyangwali) will serve 213 households, with a population of approximately 1089 individuals.

The boreholes were recently commissioned with representation from local leadership, Hand pump mechanics and water user committee representatives who have been assigned to oversee the sustenance of water operations in the communities. Uganda Red Cross also gave the community hand pump tool kits to support them during any repairs as part of ownership for a sustainable and self-reliant community.

While maintaining the water sources, Uganda Red Cross has sensitized the community and water user committee members to ensure that after handing over the water source to them, the community will continuously access clean and safe drinking water for their good health. While handing over the bore holes and repair kits to the community water user committees, Martha Imamut, the Uganda Red Cross Kyangwali refugee response operations manager emphasized the need to have the water sources clean and ownership by the community.

Drilling underway

“Access to safe and clean water means we shall all have improved health because without clean water we shall fall sick and lose life. We want you to keep the boreholes clean, your water collection cans clean, wash your hands and drink clean water always. We also want you to repair the boreholes when they break down and also the committees should have responsibility of ensuring that you own this as your community project.” Imamut said.

“The Red Cross will now leave you to manage this and we hope the tool kits we have given will help you during repairs. The water user committees have also been trained, your community leaders trained before handing over this water to you. Since we have a branch office nearby, we will only come in when it is a MUST but we want you to own the water sources and live a good life.” Imamut added.

John Mugisa a trained Hand pump mechanic appreciated Uganda Red Cross for providing safe water in their communities. He further said; “I thank the Uganda Red Cross for organizing for us a training for pump mechanics where I acquired very good skills in borehole operation and maintenance. The knowledge acquired will help me to support community in ensuring proper and continuous functionality of the boreholes. I am now a champion, will regularly check on the boreholes and pass information to the water user committee and the district water office.” Mugisa said.

Ann Tuhaisemu, the treasurer for the Water Use Committee at Nabisojjo has lived in the village for 32 years. She had never seen a borehole constructed in this community. She further explains; “I have been fetching water from Kalozo dam which is very far and we have been sharing the water with animals. The dam is very open and not protected at all. When it rains, all water carrying all sorts of dirty things ends up in the dam. We have been falling sick and getting stomach complications but the constructed borehole has now given us Joy. The water is clean and clear.” Tuhaisemu is happy.

Maratatu D Bore hole

As the treasurer for her group Water Use Committee, Tuhaiseomu said she will ensure that all funds the community members have accepted to contribute by each house hold in the village (1,000/= per month per household) towards the maintenance of the borehole will be kept in safe hands and accountability will always be presented to all the members during monthly village meetings.

Above all, proper records shall be kept in books of accounts that she will always present to the Secretary of the Water User Committee during the committee meetings. “Mothers, children, the elderly and differently abled people will benefit most since they no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water.” Tuhaisemu said.

Uganda Red Cross WASH Officer inspecting the borehole at Nabisojjo village

Government Of Uganda Handsover 10 Ambulances To Uganda Redcross Society

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 07:49 Written by
URCS Secretary General Robert Kwesiga (Right) and the Prime Minister during
flagging off of the ambuklances.

Uganda Red Cross Society with support from the Government of Uganda will today deploy 10 ambulances to support emergency response activities across 10 districts along major highways in Uganda. The selected highways are also considered hot spot areas that are prone to accidents and the ambulances will support emergency evacuations.

While commissioning and handing over the ambulances, the Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda noted that the work done by the Uganda Red Cross as part of their mandate as stipulated in the Red Cross Act as an integral part of the deliverables by the office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health.

“We trust the Uganda Red Cross and the proficiency they have exhibited over time. The Government of Uganda trusts that you will deliver on this mandate in close coordination with the Ministry of Health. Go and serve the nation.” Rugunda said.

Through the annual budget allocation to Government institutions and directorates, the Uganda Red Cross in the year 2019 /2020 received funding worth 8.35bn shillings through the Ministry of Health. Part of this funding was allocated towards construction of a Health Centre III in Bunambutye to support the families relocated from Bududa (on going), while the remaining funds were directed towards procurement of ambulances and relief nonfood item kits to respond to disaster affected families.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Dr. Diana Atwine highlighted the dream of having an ambulance fleet for every region with call centers. She further acknowledged that Red Cross is a trust worthy partner in managing the ambulances.

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda flagging off ambulancesat the office of the
Prime Minister.

“The Government of Uganda works with partners to reach the people of Uganda everywhere they are. The Red Cross is one of the partners and globally we have seen Red Cross in other countries managing emergency Health Services. We trust that they will manage these ambulances well” Atwine said.

Robert Kwesiga the General secretary Uganda Red Cross thanked the Government of Uganda for trusting Red Cross with the mandate to manage this very important landmark in the country since the plan to procure the ambulances has been on the drawing board for a long time.

“The communities need these ambulances to help in the quick evacuation of the accident victims and other emergency cases than before. We therefore say thank you to the Government of Uganda for your support and we pledge to continue serving Ugandans as per our mandate” Kwesiga added.

Uganda Red Cross will deploy 10 ambulances, with committed staff and trained response and rescue teams to support the ambulance operations at the 10 districts where these will be stationed.

The ambulances will be stationed at the following highways (districts): Kampala (2 at URCS HQTRs, Jinja (1), Mbale (1), Masaka (1) Lira, (1), Gulu, (1), Mbarara (1), Kabarole (1), and Hoima (1).

Dr. Brian Kanahe First Aid Manager explaining to the Prime Minister how equipments
in the ambulance work.
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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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