Bukenya Enock

Bukenya Enock

Red Cross & Uganda Government officials handing over relief kit to one
of the Kasese floods victims

On May 10th, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, communities living around Mt. Rwenzori suffered a double tragedy when heavy rains caused massive destruction to property and lives. The banks of rivers Nyamwamba and Mubuk burst and caused flooding to nearby households, hospitals, gardens and destroyed livelihoods.

Kilembe mines hospital too was destroyed and a number of households were displaced. Today, over 1500 households are displaced and live in makeshift arrangements.

Uganda Red Cross quickly moved in to support the affected families by offering emergency evacuations, first aid to the affected, transfer of people and property to safer areas, and mobilized relief food and nonfood items for the affected families.

MTN Uganda foundation too joined Red Cross efforts and contributed 100 Non Food Item (NFI) kits, as part of the lifesaving efforts towards the affected people. Today, Uganda Red Cross has given relief to 250 households with a population of 1750 people.

Baluku Sanansiyo carrying his relief items from the distribution site

The donated standard nonfood item kit contained 2 cooking pots, 2 Jerricans, 6 cups, 6 plates, 1 Knife, 1 Ladle, 3 blankets, 3 bars of laundry soap, 1 TARPAULIN, 3 Mosquito Nets LLITN, 1 solar lamp, 1 mat, and 1 20ltr bucket.

While engaging the Kasese District local government officials, Uganda Red Cross Secretary General Robert Kwesiiga noted that due to advancement in technology today, the floods were fore seen and a team of risk early warning and early action Volunteers in Kasese were dispatched to alert people about what was due to come. Kwesiga added that “As Uganda Red Cross we have been in Kasese working on other problems like Ebola as well as sensitizing the community about the COVID19 pandemic. The heavy rains were predicted early this year and we issued alerts. This is probably why we have not registered any deaths. While the devastation was much to property, at least no life was lost.”

Brigadier Stephen Oluka who represented the government of Uganda (Office of the Prime Minister) appreciated the Uganda Red Cross for always being fast responders. “Uganda Red Society cross has supported even other places like Bududa. I once thought that I was always the first to reach the ground when a disaster hit, but Uganda Red Cross disproved me when I got at the scene of disaster in a place where we thought nobody had reached and found the team already on ground. So as Government, we thank Red Cross for training teams that are fast and save lives always in case of any disasters.” Oluka added.

Uganda Red Cross Volunteers setting up the ground ahead of the
distribution

On a similar note, Lt. Walusimbi Joe, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Kasese district thanked Uganda Red Cross Society and MTN Uganda for extending support to the people of Kasese especially during this trying time of the COVID 19 pandemic, floods and uncertainty.

Sanacio Baluku, one of the victim of the floods and beneficiary of the relief appreciated the support that came in very timely considering that they were stuck. “On the day floods hit our village, most of us were left with nothing but we thank Uganda Red Cross Society that helped us to secure shelter at Kasese Primary school, and also for what they have brought for us to use in our day to day lives”. Baluku smiled.

It should be noted Kasese district is one of the disaster prone districts that constantly suffers massive floods effects whenever it rains. Rivers Nyamwamba and Mubuku over flow is felt as an outburst in the nearby communities, causing a lot of suffering to the people.

Uganda Red Cross teams remain on ground to continue sensitizing the displaced people on how to keep safe from the COVID-19 amidst the challenges caused by floods in their communities.

L-R Uganda Red Cross , MTN Officials, Government and district leadership
pose for a photo at a relief distribution site in Kasese

You can also follow how East Africa has suffered triple ripple effects of COVU-ID-19, Locusts & Floods here

Screening

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2020: #KeepClapping for Uganda Red Cross volunteers

Kampala 8 May 2020 — On this World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, Uganda Red Cross has dedicated this day to to recognize and appreciate the work of our volunteers and staff who are doing everything they can to support communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are our frontline workers!

“We always say that the Uganda Red Cross is everywhere for everyone, every day,” said Robert Kwesiga, Secretary General.

“In 2020, this is more important than ever. Our volunteers are hard at work helping vulnerable individuals and communities to protect themselves from COVID-19, and we’re still providing many other services that people need to keep themselves safe and healthy. To an extent they put themselves in “harm’s way” in service to humanity.

“Each and every volunteer in Uganda deserves an applause, and we encourage everyone to #KeepClapping on 8 May.”

Handwashing Hygiene Promotion

Uganda Red Cross volunteers have been active in communities since the novel coronavirus was first detected: helping people to prepare, sharing life-saving health information to stop the spread of the disease, and working to limit its impact on the most vulnerable members of society. They have supported and continue to support the Government of Uganda to reach the most vulnerable people with food, moving from door to door across the country through the National #COVID-19 task force, and through district task forces. Our branch teams through their respective districts have been at the fore front, complementing government of Uganda efforts as guided by the Office of the Prime Minister.

The Red Cross teams are also supporting high risk border points through screening, risk communication, disinfection of heavy goods trucks, among other lifeline services offered, all meant to ensure that Uganda is safe from the Corona Virus.

The Ministry of Health in Uganda issued safety guidelines which our Volunteers have taken up to support crowded markets to ensure adherence as a way of securing the health of the people. Thank you #Volunteers. All the above services have been carried out alongside the work Uganda Red Cross is well known for in Uganda. Every year, we reach more than 2,000,000 people with a diverse range of services tailored to local needs, such as access to safe and clean water, first aid and emergency lifesaving services, disaster response through provision of food and nonfood relief items, disease prevention and infection control through sensitization, Refugee response among others.

Safe and Dignified burials

Robert Kwesiga, Red Cross Secretary General said: “We may not be physically close during this time of social distancing, but we will always be here for you.

“This is a difficult time for everyone, but I see so much hope in the bravery and dedication of not only our volunteers, but also that of the millions of volunteers and staff members in other 191 countries around the world. This global solidarity will help the world not only survive this pandemic, but also help it to thrive afterwards.

And as disasters and emergencies like the floods, landslides that lead to loss of life, destruction of property, livelihoods, exposing affected communities to Water and sanitation challenges including water borne diseases as experienced in Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko yesterday start to threaten lives; we still commit to supporting people affected with the resources put to our disposal.

We also have gathered information from 20 other districts affected by adverse climate change effects. We re-emphasize our humanitarian call to serving humanity, while leaving no one behind.

Food distribution

Uganda Red Cross, your partner of choice in saving lives, restoring livelihoods and promoting human dignity.

Red Cross Teams in Field food distribution exercise

On Saturday 4th April, 2020, Government of Uganda started food distribution to vulnerable people in Kampala district affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The exercise was commissioned by the Hon. Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, who is also the chair / heads Uganda’s Coronavirus Response Team for relief food distribution campaign.

According to the Government of Uganda, the pilot was to be done in Bwaise, one of the Kampala suburbs and would proceed to Wakiso, which is another high risk district for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many people were affected by the nationwide lock down, they have no food among other pressing basic needs. We will do the test run in Bwaise and later scale up to all areas affected, resources permitting.”

Uganda Red Cross through their technical team led by Paul Okot, the Emergency Response Manager noted the need to prioritize the most vulnerable people considering the available resources that Government fronted. “We used sphere standards and local experience we have over time in distributing relief to develop standard operating procedures, determine how government will select the vulnerable and how distribution should be done. Beneficiaries will be given sugar, milk, maize flour and beans.” Okot said.

Team Planning ahead of the Food distribution.

Okot further added that Red Cross plays an auxiliary role to Government authorizes during such emergencies. “The Red Cross teams will support in activities like beneficiary registration, food distribution and hand washing / hygiene promotion, risk communication and offering pyscho-social support to those who will need such services”.

The Prime Minister emphasized that areas in Kampala and Wakiso districts were given priority considering the high rate of confirmed cases of COVID-19. Other districts will likely be supported if resources are available. He also offered other distribution guidelines which included having food relief distribution done from house to house/ door to door, as a way of ensuring social distancing and avoiding crowds.

“We do not want crowds. We also want absolute transparency, absolute accountability. Anybody who will go against this will be provoking the wrath of the law to take its course,” he added.

Uganda Red Cross co-chairs the vulnerable groups’ sub-committee which is chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister and the same sub-committee is responsible for relief Food distribution.

The Security Officers offloading food at the distribution site on Day 1
(Saturday 4th April, 2020)

Other Insights

On 31st December 2019, the Government of China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was identified and has been named COVID-19. On 30 January, World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. All continents have now reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, and the risk of continued spread between and within countries is very high.

Europe is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many European countries have closed their borders and imposed movement restrictions on their populations. The number of COVID-19 cases in the world has surpassed cases in China.

The Case of Uganda Today, Uganda has 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19. A cumulative 3,310 samples have been tested.

The number of individuals in institutional quarantine has reduced from original 1040 to 613.

427 have been discharged and 855 contact cases of confirmed cases are under follow up.

The confirmed cases are being supported, attended and in stable conditions, responding to medication steadily. They are admitted at Mulago National Referral hospital (20), Entebbe grade B Hospital (30), Adjumani hospital (1) and Hoima hospital (1).

Red Cross teams registering beneficiaries

Special Notes

Uganda is progressing on tracking cases of people who may not be scoring well on self-quarantine procedures. The Ministry of Health is calling upon people to remain calm, practice safety guidelines as we together fight the COVID-19 Pandemic. The government of Uganda has put a number of restrictions to serve as safety guidelines in a bid to realise the health security of the people.

For more Information:

• Irene Nakasiita - Communications & Public Relations Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (0755000695)

• Dr. Josephine Okwera – Director Health & Social Services Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (0780 430189)

Contact: Facebook: Uganda Red Cross Society Twitter: @ugandaredcross Instagram: UgandaRedCross

Guiding people to do proper handwashing

Uganda Red Cross Public Statement on Coronavirus Disease 2019 March 28th, 2020 The Uganda Red Cross is closely monitoring the evolving situation of the outbreak of the Corona Virus disease (COVID-19) in Uganda and is involved in carrying out lifesaving interventions which among others include risk communication, Community surveillance, Screening, hygiene promotion, ambulance services and referrals, psychosocial support to the affected, and is prepared to carry out safe and dignified burials in worst case scenarios.

As an auxiliary to the Government of Uganda during such emergencies, the National Society is working closely with the Ministry of Health to undertake the said interventions. With support from partners like MTN Foundation Uganda, a number of lifeline services have been activated around the Market areas in the Capital City Kampala and these include Temperature screening for all people accessing the markets, hand washing facilities installed, availing clean and safe water (chlorinated) for hand washing, isolation tents set up to manage susceptible cases, among other #Keepsafe measures.

“Our Red Cross machinery of first responds has been put at the disposal of the pandemic and we believe with combined efforts and support we can save lives of people”. Said Robert Kwesiga, the Uganda Red Cross Secretary General.

Teaching people how to effectively wash hands

Uganda Red Cross has presented a COVID-19 response Plan of action to the Ministry of Health Task force, well aligned to Government plans to combat the Pandemic.Red Cross ambulances have been deployed to work alongside Government machinery in response across the country. We believe such combined efforts, well-coordinated can go a long way in saving people’s lives.

We continue to work closely the Ministry of Health and the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services to also ensure the safety and availability of blood supply for patients in need. We encourage all eligible blood donors to schedule appointments or move to the nearest blood banks / blood collection centers and donate blood to avoid blood shortages during this tough season.

Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. The need for blood is constant, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need of transfusions. Therefore, our appeal to the public is to keep safe and donate blood when you are due.

Hand Washing Facilities Set Up to support hygiene Promotion

In other districts outside Kampala, the Red Cross volunteers are supporting communities though disseminating good practices of how they can protect their families from getting sick, educating them on how to mitigate the spread of this COVID-19 virus, hygiene promotion, fighting rumors and stigma, among other lifeline services.

The National Society is doing resource mobilization to be able to reach out to more places across the Country to ensure that more lives are saved and communities receive the basic services they require to cope through this situation.

Resources:

You can Visit the Ministry of Health Portal on COVID-19 for further details https://www.health.go.ug/covid/

Visit our social media sites for Updates on our COVID-19 interventions

Temperature Screening for all people who access the crowded market areas

Contact:

For more Information:

  • Irene Nakasiita - Communications & Public Relations Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (0755000695)
  • Dr. Josephine Okwera – Director Health & Social Services Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (0780 430189)

Twitter: @UgandaRedCross

Facebook Uganda Red Cross Society

Instagram: UgandaRedCross

Uganda Red Cross team engaging the Water User Committee before the
hand over of the Project Facilities.

On the 10th of January 2020, Uganda Red Cross Society with support from the Cartier Foundation through the Internal Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (lFRC) handed over Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities worth 1,787,100,000/= to the people of Nebbi and Packwachi districts. This was done to reduce incidences of disease outbreaks due to poor water, hygiene and sanitation practices. For long, disease such as cholera, diarrheal illnesses, malaria were rampant in these districts and claimed lives of people constantly.

The facilities that were handed over included latrines in the villages of Dhei, Boro and Panyamur, Piped water system from Namwaodho gravity flow scheme connecting to Mamba Village and bore holes in villages surrounding Abia community, in Nyaravu Sub County, West Nile. While handing over the project, Mr. Robert Kwesiga, the Uganda Red Cross Secretary General appreciated the Cartier Foundation for having extended a hand of support to Uganda Red Cross to be able to address the Health gaps in this area.

While giving his remarks, the Secretary General also encouraged the people of Nebbi and Packwach to own these resources and use them to their wellbeing.

A latrine Constructed by Uganda Red Cross Society at Boro village.
A similar stance was built at Dhei landing to improve hygiene and Sanitation.

“Nebbi is unique, it is one of those areas in West Nile region which are very dry. Although the Lake Albert region has water, the latrine coverage has been very poor and people used to practice open defecation. The water sources were always contaminated and Cholera has been rampant here. I thank the Cartier team and the IFRC for supporting our Health Interventions here. We are happy to contribute to the wellbeing of the people in this area.”

“Today, we handover this water project with hope that the people in this community, especially mothers and children will find life easier by having easier access to clean and safe water, free from diseases but also closer to their homes for their safety.” Kwesiga added.

Ms. Jameelaa, a representative from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent said that the major objective of the project is to reduce on the out breaks of water bone diseases in the recognized hot spots. “For this as the Federation, we are thankful for the work of the National Society done by the WASH team, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Water and Sewerage Corporation. Thank you for making this project a success.”

While addressing residents at the hand over event, Mr. Robert Omitto, the Pakwach district Chairperson urged the people in his community to utilize the facilities Uganda Red Cross Society has put in place with a high sense of responsibility. “Let us be responsible and use the facilities well because it is one of the ways we shall overcome diseases like Cholera. Omitto added.

Uganda Red Cross team handing over a bore hole to the Water.
User Committee at Panyamur village.

Christine Omolot a resident of Bhilania Village in Nebbi district praised Uganda Red Cross Society for job well done. She explained that “I have spent 38 years here (Bhilania Village) and I had never seen clean water in our village. Diseases such as Cholera and bilharzia had become a problem. I thank Uganda Red Cross Society for helping us with clean water. May God bless you.”

Uganda Red Cross implemented and handed over this project to increase access to safe, clean and adequate safe water supply in the communities of Nebbi and Packwach in Albertine region through pipe water extension, construction and rehabilitation of broken water sources, Improving Sanitation and hygienic practices within the targeted communities through awareness sessions so that people can improve behavior for their good health. The project further targeted to improve community based surveillance and cholera management at community level through the early warning, early action mechanism, establishment of ORPs (Oral Rehydration Points) and improving the health care referral linkages with support from the trained pool of community based volunteers.

Hard ware handed over

  • URCS made an Extension of 6.0 kilometers Piped water system from the lake to Mamba Trading Centre, Alala centre and connection of 15 villages with a total of 150 households, three institutions (Padwot PS. Mamba S.S, Padwot Midiere Health Centre 111) serving a population of approximately 2700 people.
  • Hydrological site surveys, drilling, pump testing and pump installation of three boreholes located at Jafurunga, Abia – Nebbi district and Nyakiro South in Pakwach district and serving the population (1,705 persons) in Jafurunga Abia, and Nyakiro South.
  • Rehabilitation of 5 boreholes in the areas of Kucwiny P/S, Kucwiny HCIII, Alwala East, Nyakiro P/S and Kivuje PS.
  • Construction of three drainable latrines at Agwok P.S, Boro Health Centre 11 and Dei Landing Site.

Software

  • Increased knowledge on sanitation and hygiene, awareness creation and improved behavior of people living in communities around the lake.
  • Improved Community based surveillance systems at community level during outbreaks especially in Nebbi and Pakwach districts.
A Uganda Red Crss Official supporting a disabled beneficiary to access
Mobile Phone services and retrieve the Cash.

Uganda Red Cross Introduces Cash Transfer programming in Disaster Response, Pilot launched in Mbale, Namabasa Village, Eastern Uganda. With support from the German Red Cross, Uganda Red Cross on January 21st 2020 gave out 88 million shillings in Cash to over 245 families that were affected by floods in December 2019. The money was transferred to the beneficiaries using MTN Mobile and Airtel Money transfer services.

While presiding over the Cash transfer (CTP) launch, the Uganda Red Cross Secretary General Mr. Robert Kwesiga appreciated the German Red Cross and other partners who supported Uganda Red Cross during the wake of disasters that hit Uganda throughout 2019. He also appreciated the Germans for having enabled the Cash transfer because it allows people affected to make a choice of the basic requirements they need to go through the disasters or cope.

“We are thankful to all the partners who supported us especially when our relief stock budget was over stretched; German Red Cross being one of them. Today as we launch this pilot project of cash transfer, we want to ensure that every one affected receives their money and uses it for the intended purpose. The money is sent using mobile phone money transfer services. The Programme is meant to compliment the usual nonfood relief items that we provide during disaster response. We want people to make choices of what they want to access during or after a disaster.” Said Kwesiga.

Excitment as a Community member recieved money through her
mobile phone

“It also builds and maintains the dignity of people when they have purchasing power to meet an immediate need as opposed to making choices for them when we show up with pre-positioned emergency response kits which sometimes are not their immediate needs.” Kwesiga added.

In December 2019, areas around Mt. Elgon in Eastern Uganda suffered adverse flooding effects and landslides which caused destruction of public infrastructures, human settlements, lives lost as well as farmlands, causing huge losses to famers in terms of crop destruction and livestock deaths.

Close to 1218 households in the districts of Mbale and Butallejja were left homeless and majority were displaced. Food items such as Potatoes, cassava, beans, rice soya beans bananas, yams and maize were also destroyed hence exposing families to hunger.

In response, Uganda Red Cross provided relief nonfood items to the affected families, and other life line services. The Cash program has been introduced as a compliment to the already exiting response mechanisms. As thus, a rapid Assessment was conducted within affected areas to ensure cash feasibility, access to Markets (RAM) among other determining factors.

The findings indicated that the Cash Transfer Process (CTP) Initiative was more feasible in Mbale - Namabasa Sub-county because of the market functionality and availability of financial service providers.

Joy as one of the members showed off Cash that was wired to his Mobile Phone.
mobile phone

“This is why we are giving out the money to the people in the area where we are today. One might think and ask why Namabasa? The feasibility study positioned us to pilot the project here; but also, Namabasa has the highest number of people who were affected in Mbale district. Those without mobile phones will receive Cash in Envelopes. All families who are receiving money today were involved in the initial process and they are excited to receive money.” Said Joram Musinguzi, Program officer for the Cash Transfer Project.

A total of 1458 individuals in 245 received cash assistance; 04 households with 21 individuals received cash in envelops and these were the people with special cases, whose numbers were not registered but highly qualify for immediate help.

The cash transfer targeted to help families be able to meet immediate needs such as food, health, education among other critical services to enable them recover from the adverse climate change affected.

The Ebola ViralDisease continues to remain a threat to Uganda due to the increasing numbers of cases and death in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. With about 2,837 cases and over1898 deaths reported by13th August 2019, the epidemic has become one of the highest burdens within the neighboring country.

URCS-Volunteer-carries-out-screening-process

In August 2019, 1 case of Ebola was identified in Kasese at the border entry of Mpondwe. Tumwine Francis, the URCS focal person in Kasese branch explains that the victim was a child who came with her mother from the Democratic Republic of Congo through the Mpondweborder entry where URCS screening team identified them and immediately put them into the isolation unit. also added that, “our major work at the border is to recognize ill travelers, immediately isolate, notify and give pyscho-social support.

Therefore I thank my fellow volunteers for the quick response about that case”. On a similar note, KagwaMugaga from the Ministry of Health and coordinator of the Ebola Response Team in the Rwenzori region also thanked Uganda Red Cross Society team at the border for beingvigilant and taking quick and professional action with the confirmed case. Mugaga also promised a continued, smooth cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the Uganda Red Cross Society at the different points of entry.

Due to these cases, URCS, with funding from UNICEF, prioritized risk communication and social mobilization activities within the districts of Kasese , Bundibugyo,Kabarole, Rukungiri, Ntoroko, Bunyangabo, Kisoro and Kanungu to improve on the district competences to responsewhen an outbreak occurs. Uganda Red Cross Society continues to do the Point of Entry (POE) screening as a means to limit suspected cases from entering the country unnoticed.

Mandatory washing of hands at Mpondwe border point

Health promotion campaigns are also being done at the household level, promoting the awareness of the Ebola virus and symptoms of the disease.Personal hygiene is also being emphasized within the high-risk districts to galvanize efforts to increase awareness. “Social Mobilizations like drama groups that easily attract the communities to come together, have been put in place to help increase awareness and understanding of what the Ebola Viral disease (EVD) is about,” says Eric Ofwono, Operations Manager EVD Program URCS.

URCS team demonstrates safe and dignfied burial
Catherine Kusasira donates blood.

URCS Partners with the Buganda Fraternity to raise more Units of Blood On the 10th – 11th September Uganda Red Cross Society joined hands with Buganda fraternity to collect over 2000 units of Blood. The blood drive was held at Bulange gardens in Mengo where a number of people supported the cause.

The two day drive was officiated by Prince Cryspin Jjunju Kiwewa together with the 1st Deputy Katikkiro and Minister in charge of Technology, Prof Twaha Kaawaase in Mengo. Prince Jjunju urged people to always donate blood in order to save the lives of fellow Ugandans who are sick.

Jjunju also noted that it is always good to have organizations like Uganda Red Cross coming up to help in saving lives and thanked the URCS team that was led by Sara Mutegombwa the blood donation manager at URCS. By the end of the 2 days drive 995 units of blood were collected

Prof. Twaha Kaawaase donates blood as Sara Mutegombwa; URCS Blood
Donation Manager guides him.
Prince Jjunju visits the URCS tent after donating blood.
Thursday, 01 November 2018 17:16

URCS Vision

To fulfill the URCS mandate and obligation in delivering quality and sustainable humanitarian assistance

Thursday, 01 November 2018 07:43

URCS Mission

To be partner of choice in Uganda in Saving lives, Supporting Livelihoods and Promoting human dignity

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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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