We cannot emphasize enough how fast the Coronavirus is spreading. It is devastating, disrupting and crippling communities and economies worldwide. We are witnessing the chaos that it is leaving behind. Even the strongest, most prepared and organized economies cannot escape its damage. Now, close your eyes and imagine what it will do to fragile societies like the ones we have in Uganda and specifically the Kigezi region.
At the beginning of March, Uganda had no reported COVID 19 cases. Today, the number is up to 45 patients and climbing. The government has instituted a lockdown to curb the spread and the results of the lockdown are not known yet.
What we know is that as workplaces close and jobs are lost, and as life becomes harder in the urban areas, people to start retreating with their families to the countryside. With these movements, there is more possibility for community spread of the virus. This becomes even more dangerous to a society of people with a background of malnutrition or a host of other pre-existing health conditions.
Any of the above scenarios is a potential catastrophe to our already fragile healthcare system.
To mitigate these potential effects, the International Community of Banyakigezi (ICOB) is partnering with two hospitals in Kigezi in the fight against COVID-19. The two hospitals are :
1. St. Francis Hospital, Mutolere in Gisoro District: http://mutolerehospital.ug/
2. Kisiizi Hospital at Kisiizi in Rukungiri District: http://www.kisiizihospital.org.ug/
Our choice in supporting these two hospitals, in particular, was deliberate. The reason being that they are faith-based hospitals whose major source of funding is foreign donors. They do not receive any substantive funding from the government.
Like elsewhere in the world, the number one need for these hospitals is protection for the frontline staff. Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel urgently need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Patients too, will need ventilators and oxygen.
As ICOB, we would like to commit to providing two thousand (2,000) PPE sets to each of the above hospitals. Each kit or set will comprise of the following items:
. Eye protection
· A pair of gumboots
To achieve this mission, we have set a goal of raising USD 60,000. We pledge that 100% of the donations received will go to fighting COVID-19 in Kigezi. No administration fees will be deducted.
We, therefore, appeal to all Banyakigezi and friends of Kigezi to give generously to this cause. No amount is too small if it is from the heart. $15 will procure a safety kit for front line staff, so whether you donate towards one kit, three kits or 100 kits every donation, big or small counts.
We thank you for your kindness and generosity.