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Red Cross on alert as Uganda confirms first Ebola case

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 18:10 Written by
Red Cross team trained to manage safe and dignified burrials

Kampala/Nairobi/Geneva, 12 June –Red Cross teams are on high alert following the confirmation of the first Ebola case in Uganda. According to the Ministry of Health, a five-year-old boy from Uganda returned from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) on 10 June. The child presented with Ebola symptoms and was transferred to an Ebola treatment unit in Bwera.

Robert Kwesiga, Uganda Red Cross Secretary General, said: “This is a worrying development, but we have been preparing for this for months now. We have been scaling up our efforts, in close coordination with government and other actors to help communities prepare for Ebola, and to contain its spread.” The Uganda border is close to the epicenter of the DR Congo outbreak, which is now the second largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded.

Uganda Red Cross, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has trained hundreds of community-based volunteers in anticipation of the potential spread of Ebola. Volunteers have been trained in Ebola screening, as well as in risk communication and community engagement, community-based surveillance, and psychosocial support.

Cross boarder Screening

In addition, Red Cross has procured equipment for safe and dignified burials and has provided training and technical support to Ministry of Health which will lead on the delivery of safe and dignified burials in Uganda. Andreas Sandin, IFRC Operations Coordinator, said: “We are ready to adapt and expand our support, but we must take stock of the lessons we have learned from the response in DR Congo. “Epidemics and pandemics start and end in the communities – we need to ensure this remains a community-led response to ensure we prevent Ebola’s further spread.” IFRC is also supporting the National Red Cross Societies of Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan to prepare for the potential spread of Ebola into their countries.

For more information, please contact:

In Kampala: Irene Nakasiita, +256 755000695, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In Nairobi: Corrie Butler, +254 743044013, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In Geneva: Laura Ngo-Fontaine, +41 79 570 4418, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Community engagement on sensitisations and risk communication

Uganda Red Cross delivers Ramadhan food package to Vulnerable Muslim communities

Monday, 10 June 2019 19:03 Written by
URCS Resilience and Food Security manager handing over a food kit to one
of the beneficiaries

Uganda Red Cross delivers Ramadhan food package to Vulnerable Muslim communities ahead of Eid al-fitr Celebrations.Uganda Red Cross delivers Ramadhan food package to Vulnerable Muslim communities ahead of Eid al-fitr Celebrations.

Ramadan is a special time of the year for the Muslims around the world. It is celebrated after completing a 30 days fasting. Muslims from all corners of the world take off time to repent their sins and live in accordance to the holy foundations and notions of Allah.

They also use this opportunity to focus on charity to the most vulnerable in their communities. Uganda Red Cross, with support from Kuwait Red Crescent in a special way prepared and distributed food packages to the vulnerable Muslim communities as they completed the recent holy month of Ramadan. '

During the distribution, people with special considerations are given an
opportunity to be first 
recipients

The food packages worth UGX 112 Million benefited over 1,500 households in the three districts of Mbale, Iganga and Mpigi. The distribution started on Saturday 1stJune 2019 in Mbale and Iganga where 1000 households received their food packages, and then proceededto Mpigi districton Monday 3rd June where 500 households benefited.

According to Brain Kanaahe, the Community Resilience Manager at Uganda Red Cross, the distribution targets vulnerable Muslims who have had to struggle making ends meet throughout Ramadhan. “We are here to share love from the Kuwait Red Crescent and Uganda Red Cross to these vulnerable groups happy after fasting these 30 days of Ramadan.

We are mainly targeting households led by women, children, the elderly, orphans and other people with special needs. We hope to reach over 9,000 vulnerableMuslims in this program.” Said Kanaahe. The package which was welcomed by the beneficiaries across the three districts with open hands, contained sugar, maize flour, rice, cooking oil, beans and dates. These will help those who cannot afford a descent ‘Eid meal have a happy celebration after a long month of fasting. “We are grateful to the Red Cross for this generosity.

some of the beneficiairies excited after recieving their food packages.

Majority of our people were already worried about how they would celebrate ‘Eid. I have over 900 Muslims in this mosque and there is no way I would have supported all of them. The intervention has been timely and the leadership of this mosque is so thankful to the Red Cross family” said Ismail Musamale, the imam (leader) ofMunawala Mosque in BungokoMtoto sub county, Mbale district. In Iganga district, the distribution was led by Dr. Halid Kirunda, the branch chairman who also doubles as the URCSCentral Government Board chairman.

He appreciated the community members for always working closely with Red Crossduring disaster response interventions and when responding to other pressing needs of the community. “Uganda Red Cross is a membership organization, so we always work with such grassroots communities. Without them our work wouldn’t be possible. So as we appreciate their continued support and participation, we also identify with them through such acts of love.

The residents here are mainly Muslims and as they conclude their holy month of fasting, we feel happy giving back to them especially those who are needy. We wouldn’t want others to enjoy the day while the vulnerable are left behind.” Said Kirunda Kuwait Red Crescent is happy to have made a contribution towards giving back to the vulnerable in the communities that deserve the Red Cross/Crescent services.

sample packed food kits ready for distribution.

Eight dead, hundreds displaced as flash floods hit Kampala

Wednesday, 29 May 2019 05:02 Written by

On Sunday 26thth May 2019, heavy rains hit several areas of Uganda including the Capital, Kampala. A number of areas flooded, roadscut off and a lot of property was destructed. Over eight people are believed to have lost their lives in the areas of Kikajjo, Lubowa and Lufuka all located in Masajja and Bunamwaya divisions (Kampala suburbs). Over 500 households were affected. The most affected villages include;Lubowa, Lufuka,Kazinga, Wakulekana, Buzali, MasajjaKibiraB, Lwasa bridge way triangle, Kabuma,Katongo,Kikajjo, Katwe, MakindyeSsabagabo among others.

The flash floods have had a devastating effecton the lives of people, livestock, businesses, household items and has affected human settlement. Many people have been displaced while others have had to move to neighboring villages for shelter with relatives and close friends. Schools too have been affected and this has an impact on the education of children in the affected areas.

“I lost about 300 chicken yesterday. The water was just too much and it rose so high to the level of windows, the chicken were trapped inside and starteddying one by one, there are still more dying up to now. This was my only source of income for my family.” Said Mr.Richard Kanyike 63, a resident of Lufuka zone in Bunamwaya Through the Uganda Red Cross Kampala South Branch office located in MakindyeSsaabagabo Zone, a response action team (RCATs) was dispatched, joined by local authorities and other community responders to swing in action.

Water penetrated people's homes forcing them to abandon the houses

“We are deeply saddened by the incident inin our Kampala South branch area. We identify with the families that lost their loved ones. Uganda Red Cross will do whatever we can to mobilise resources and support the affected families. Our teams are on ground to continue with rescue and also support the evacuation process. We have deployed tents to accommodate the homeless and blankets during this time of coldness. After the assessment, we will be able to offer more support to meet the actual needs of the people. I call upon other partners to join us in this effort of saving lives of people.” Says Robert Kwesiga – Secretary General – Uganda Red Cross Society.

Many people are homeless and do not have where to sleep. 20 Emergency tents were deployed in different communities to accommodate families that were stranded. These were detached to separate men from women and children.These families were also given 100 blankets to support the families that were hit by the cold weather in the night.

Uganda Red Cross has also positioned relief items (blankets, jerry cans, soap, aqua tabs, tarpaulins, and kitchen setsamong others) that will be distributed soon to support the affected families.

There are planned sensitisations on climate change effects, disaster preparedness, hygiene and sanitation as heavy rains continue amidst compromised hygiene and sanitation situations in communities. Many latrines were washed away and faecal matter flows with flooding water into people’s homes.

Children are at risk of contracting diseases like pneumonia, cholera and other viral and bacterial infections through this season as heavy rains continue.

Livestock and businesses were greatly affected in the rains
Some of the URCS tents established to accommodate the affected people in communities

Uganda Red Cross launches campaign to support a girl child stay in school

Tuesday, 09 April 2019 08:13 Written by
Students of Mackay Memorial during a presentation at the launch

Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports on the 28th March launched a Country wide initiative dubbed“Keep A Girl in School”  aimed at improving  Menstrual Health Management among primary and secondary school going adolescent girls and young women. 

The event was hosted by Mackay Memorial College – Nateete, one of the model schools in Rubaga division, Kampala.

The initiative under the theme; Empowered Girls, Empowered Mothers, Empowered Communities,is championed by the Uganda Red Cross goodwill ambassadors, who are Volunteers and friends of the Uganda Red Cross. They are passionate about the plight of the girlchild and societal well-being. The team is comprised of role models and dignified mothers in the country with a track record of spearheading impactful community health interventions like the “Mama bag/kits” distribution that contributed to the improvement of birth preparedness, hence arresting maternal mortality in Northern Uganda during the post LRA insurgency.

While officiating at the campaign launch, the Minister of Education and Sports- Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni said the Ministry has implemented a number of interventions aimed at improving Menstrual Health Management among adolescent girls especially those in primary and secondary schools. Key among these being;

A team of the URCS goodwill ambasadors ready to push the campaign
  • Construction of latrines/toilets and washrooms, provision of water harvesting facilities (water tanks), hand washing facilities and provision of sanitary towels (still in few schools on a pilot basis) to support girls manage their menstrual periods with dignity. 
  • Production and dissemination of information, education and communication (IEC) materials in form of a Reader, video and a circular on Menstrual Health Management,
  • Training learners and teachers on Menstrual Health Management and on making re-usable sanitary towels from available local materials.
  • Partnership building and sensitisation of the public, parents, teachers and learners and among policy makers on MHM. 

“All the above are initiatives of the Ministry and we are happy to contribute to the wellbeing of children especially the girls to ensure that they remain in school and complete to achieve their dreams.” She added.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Alex Kakooza in his remarks emphasized the challenges that girls go through while in school.

The Guest of honour, Hon. Rosemary Sseninde Speaking at the launch

“Menstruation affects girls in their engagement in a number of activities and may significantly impact on their education if not well managed. A study by International Water and Sanitation Council (2012) estimates that one in ten of girls who experience menstruation in Uganda skips school four to five days a month or completely drops out of school. This is why we need to support partners like Uganda Red Cross as they address this cause through provision of sanitary pads to girls.”

Speaking at the launch, Robert Kwesiga, the Secretary General- Uganda Red Cross Society, said the initiative is part of the Uganda Red Cross Society Health and Social Service Agenda under the WASH interventions. 

“As we strive to promote the dignity of the people we serve, menstrual health management lies at the centre of the WASH interventions we undertake. It plays a crucial role around important issues such as health, education, protection and security of women and adolescent girls both in emergency and in the development context. We are here to mobilise communities to join hands with us so that critical issues affecting the vulnerable populace are addressed. Menstrual Health Management is a fundamental strategy to improving school attendance and retention for the girl child. It is a big agenda of the Red Cross global movement and therefore, I want to thank the Ministry for opening the schools for us to access the vulnerable girls and support them as we continue delivering on our mandate of saving lives and promoting human dignity.” Kwesiga added.

The Secretary General, Mr. Robert Kwesiga and the guest of honour Hon. Rosemary Sseninde,
state minister for primary education visiting the Secrets stall at the exhbition
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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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