The following is a message from Deus Mwijuke, Director of our partner organization, JoCF Uganda, and Managing Director of HEVIA Uganda, a Community Based Organization that works in the sectors of health, education, entrepreneurship, and environmentalism in Kamwenge and Kiruhura distritcts of rural Uganda

Deus Mwijuke

On behalf of JOCF Uganda, we are following the current affairs and concerns on the pandemic that has changed the way of life globally. We understand life globally is at great risk, it’s our prayer that the situation is contained and life gets back to normal.

Our special prayer goes to all our sponsors.

In Uganda we have a total of 54 cases of covid-19, including 4 so far discharged. Therefore, Uganda too is not spared and as we pray for you, please pray for us as well since this has really affected our operations as a result of total lockdown to our poor country.

Life is unusual due to the COVID 19 Virus. And as a country we are under lockdown, curfew that starts at 7:00pm.

This is strange and rare to many of us in the community, but real in the government’s effort to fight the Virus spread. Police supported by the Military and LDU (Local Defense Unit) are enforcing the presidential directives, this enforcement is characterized by several roadblocks along most of the local roads around and far that has created the situation tough to many who would like to travel even for health attention.

Those who try violation of these directives of lockdown & curfew are punished, and some are beaten by the security forces.

In all this lockdown people continue to struggle finding what to eat, mostly those that earn a living on daily income as boda boda (motorcycle) riders, taxi drivers and related business termed as “hand to mouth” earners. Only business related with selling food, pharmacies, clinics, agricultural products & farms are allowed to operate.

But due to the ‘stay home and safe’ policy as advised by the ministry of health, business is down, since everyone is advised to stay home and no one is allowed to move by either boda boda or taxi, even some sick people are using local treatment like herbs here in Engari to survive. According to the government, they will give food to the vulnerable in Kampala and Wakiso areas saying those in rural areas can survive on their farm outputs.  

We thank God that in Engari we have not yet registered any Corona virus cases, apart from two suspected returnees that were captured from Entebbe airport now under quarantine in Kampala. But we are trying to keep the social distancing, washing hands with soap frequently, sanitizing, avoiding gathering like funerals. These are now attended by only 10 family members and is so surprising and disappointing to the community. The clinics however are not having enough PPEs, sanitizers and other gadgets for infection control against the virus because they are expensive to us though we are trying with the little we have.

In serious sickness which needs referral, or one who needs to move like for expectant pregnant women etc, one has to call the RDC (Residence District Commissioner) this is the presidential representative in every district, such that he directs an ambulance to pick up the sick. Remember the district where ambulances are parked is far from our community. This has exhibited some scenario where a pregnant woman was expecting to deliver but the family had not prepared early and when it came late evening even without air time (phone credit), the woman delivered from the road side and they continued to come to HEVIA (Deus’ health clinic) where the placenta was removed.

As HEVIA , the clinic hired a motorcycle to have a chance to check on our clients that are not able to walk to the clinic, but with many service limitations and yet also motorcycles are not allowed to travel beyond 2pm.

As per the ministry of education it was earlier on communicated that schools will re-open 27/April 2020 this was before the recent presidential directives of extending the lockdown and quarantine for the whole country starting from 15th April for 21 days. With that we are waiting for the ministry of education’s new directives concerning schools re-opening plans but still this will depend on the ministry of health updates.

The prices for most commodities like rice, posho, sugar, etc. have almost doubled and it is worse for salt (salt was initially at 700ug but now at 2500ug), so life is hard for the vulnerable poor. More so, prices for simple medicine for flu, cough, pneumonia and also sanitizers, gloves, detergents etc. have doubled or even tripled in prices due to low supply.

But we are on our knees for God’s intervention to end this.

Our prayers are with you and the American people who have lost their loved ones as a result of this particular pandemic.

RIP to those who have lost their lives.

Deus Mwijuke

On behalf of JOCF Uganda.