The National COVID-19 Fund has received donations worth 28 billion Shillings since its establishment in response to the needs occasioned by an outbreak of coronavirus disease. The donations include cash, assorted food items, medical supplies, vehicles and other non-food items.
According to a report presented to Parliament by Premier Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the cash donations currently total 15 billion shillings while the goods in kind are valued at 13 billion Shillings. The report shows that the fund has received 65 vehicles, some of which are already deployed in various districts across the country.
The fund targets to raise 170 billion Shillings and 10 motor vehicles for each of the 134 districts. The explanation follows a directive by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga for the government to provide weekly updates on the country’s response towards the fight against coronavirus disease.
Rugunda said that the assorted food items have been utilized to respond to distress calls from different groups in dire need including hospitals, orphanages and homesteads while medical supplies have been delivered to the Ministry of Health for distribution across the country.
He told parliament that the lockdown measures have served and continue to serve the intended objective of taming the virus saying that the country’s curve remains relatively flat and that if cases of truck drivers are excluded, it becomes even flatter.
He added that the government has prepared 3,200 isolation beds and 378 ICU beds to handle the epidemic at the current rate of spread. Mulago National Specialized Hospital has 900 beds, 36 adult and 27 pediatric ICU beds while the Women and Neonatal Hospital has 35 adult and 30 pediatric ICU beds.
According to Rugunda, the 16 Regional Referral Hospitals have prepared 30 isolation beds each giving a total of 480 beds and each Regional Referral Hospital is also being equipped with 10 ICU beds. The 50 General Hospitals will each provide 20 isolation beds and 164 health center IV’s will each provide five isolation beds.
Rugunda also noted that the President had during the lockdown period initiated special support for Ugandan scientists to enable them to provide local solutions in the area of developing a vaccine, diagnostics and production of drugs.
But MPs tasked Rugunda to provide more explanation on the delayed payment of frontline officers like the police, nurses, lab attendants among others, the increasing levels of unemployment and the slow pace at which food relief is distributed.