By James William Mugeni
USA—26, June 2020: President Museveni in your recent address you assured us that Uganda has managed to survive in the Covid-19 period without external support. You told us that Uganda has everything that makes white’s laugh at us why we are in a predicament and wonder what is wrong with us. You said we were enslaved 600 years ago, and it is time for you to remove us from slavery.
You mocked whites who were part of the audience to a thunderous clapping from those who listened to you. President, we are enslaved to the extent that the audience you address allows to be misinformed, which is another form of slavery and self-denial. Just for this Covid-19 period government of Uganda has depended heavily on US government for almost all sectors.
Below are extracts from the US-Embassy as posted on their Facebook page showing the amount of money that the US-Embassy has given to Uganda during the Covid -19. President your distorted narrative of the help US government gives to Uganda cannot go without challenge especially for some of us who have worked with the US government within Uganda as Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Uganda does not almost subscribe to WHO but heavily to CDC.
For Covid-19, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) which is our Government of Uganda research institution has revealed that it has not received any Covid-19 related fundings from government and was forced to divert a sum of 780 million meant for other programs to facilitate the Covid-19 activities.
UVRI has been in partnership with the U.S. government for over 30 years and is on the direct funding from USA! UVRI’s laboratories, with support from several U.S. government agencies over the years, are the backbone of Uganda’s successful Covid-19 response. UVRI routinely engages in health research pertaining to human infections and disease processes linked to viral aetiology, provides expert advice to Ministry of Health – Uganda, and serves as a centre for training and education.
The U.S. government, through CDC, USAID – US Agency for International Development, The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides more than $2 million in support annually to the UVRI arbovirus lab, the viral haemorrhagic fever lab, the Uganda Sample Transport Network, and for continued operation of the National Influenza Center, the main lab being used for Covid-19 testing.
The U.S. has contributed an additional $400,000 in Covid-19 to UVRI. This support funding was provided for performance evaluations on new test kits, increase support to staff, training, and the expansion of the severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) sentinel surveillance network. This donation represents another critical piece of assistance provided by the U.S. government to help Uganda’s Covid-19 response.
Professor Pontiano Kaleebu, the Director, Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) had this to say recently: “We have worked with CDC in areas of HIV, in areas of emerging and re-emerging infections, and in the areas of Influenza. We are doing a study that is looking at long acting PrEP funded by USAID – US Agency for International Development through International Aids Vaccine Initiative, training, and building infrastructure capacity, so, CDC has been one of the major supporters but also other U.S. government agencies beyond the CDC.”
“It’s very important and people may not know this, the vaccines that we get for EPI, for polio, for measles, when they are imported to the country our departments need to check that these vaccines are working well. We are in the period of trying to eradicate measles and polio and we check to find out whether we have measles or polio cases within our population, which is very important. Surveillance, we do a lot of surveillance, in communities to look for new infections. In HIV, we have done quite a lot with the support of our partners”.
To date, the US has provided both technical assistance and more than $15 million—or Ugx 56 Billion—in funding to meet the urgent needs of Uganda’s Covid-19 response. The Uganda Virus Research
It is this lab that has provided all the data and all the information on the new infections we are getting. The U.S. government, through CDC, USAID – US Agency for International Development, and The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), proudly supports Uganda’s Ministry of Health in protecting Uganda’s borders from infectious diseases like Covid-19.
Uganda has done an incredible job of being prepared! They have shown the world how being proactive, having a plan, and acting early can prevent a pandemic like Covid-19 from getting out of control. By protecting the borders through active testing and quarantine.
The US Embassy through CDC and other health programs has given Uganda time and expertise to acquire the necessary medical supplies and equipment, prepare its medical facilities and health care workers, and educate the population about how to identify cases and keep themselves safe. It saves lives to be prepared!
The U.S. government through the U.S. Africa Command provided 1,000 N95 respiratory masks, 5,000 examination gloves, 1,000 surgical gloves, 100 plastic aprons, and 100 sets of safety glasses to Uganda’s Ministry of Health . The personal protective equipment (PPE) was distributed by the Ugandan government’s Covid-19 Response Logistics Sub-Committee in accordance with existing logistics management protocols.
The American Tower Corporation also donated Ugs345 million to the Ministry of Health to purchase approximately 20,000 Covid-19 test kits!
American Tower Corporation provides the infrastructure that supports Uganda’s wireless network, and enables Ugandans to remain connected to each other, and the world. American Tower Corporation is also a proud member of the American Chamber of Commerce of Uganda.
On June 18, 2020—The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), awarded a new activity to confront the desert locust infestation threatening eastern and north-eastern Uganda. USAID’s $134,862 investment will support the Government of Uganda to take measures against the infestation and its devastating impacts on people’s livelihoods and food security.
The locust outbreak, the worst in decades in East Africa, is affecting the farming and cattle herding communities in Karamoja, Teso, Acholi, and Lango, some of the poorest and most marginalized sub/regions in Uganda.
President this is just a glimpse into the relationship we have with USA not mentioning the UPDF we cannot deny these relationships but instead we should prepare citizens and teach them what collaborations must be.
China is now walking the whole of Africa and it is through you, the leaders with double standards. How do we citizens stand to benefit from these relations other than a self-off? Uganda, like Africa as a whole, is for grabs and who is trading us off?
The author is a Medical Clinical Officer/Certified Public Manager.