It’s obvious that the Covid19 pandemic has indeed taken its toll on humanity all over the world. But the manner with which it has been fought has created mayhem in society.
The unintended consequence has been the termination of the real livelihoods of thousands of people around many countries, including Uganda. Most have adopted rigid lockdown guidelines. The result of adopting the lockdown where people have been stopped from working, is a classic analogical case of digging one deep hole to fill a deeper hole.
We still insist that the lockdown was not meant to be the pillar in the fight against Covid19. The overall results have proved that countries like Italy, Germany, England, USA, Sweden and others which have relaxed and opened up have NOT suffered any resurgence of the virus. Yet those countries incurred more deaths during their lockdown periods from March to June this year.
This is an indictment on the World Health Organization (WHO) and scientists that came up with the idea of shutting down as an instrument for fighting the corona virus. Their lack of judgment is more pronounced in their hope that the virus will be defeated when they came up with a vaccine. What if the vaccine is not found for very many years to come?
Lifting the Restrictions
Indeed, some governments which have previously been hit hard by the virus have opted to relax the lockdown and allowed most of what is considered normal to operate. Countries which were affected harshly like Germany have for instance allowed cafes, bars and schools to operate.
In contrast, Uganda which has not yet lost a single person to the virus has all its places of worship closed. The schools, bars and salons are still closed; transport still faces some restrictions (especially motorcycles which are prohibited from carrying passengers).
Oddly, although most Ugandans have heard about the virus and the rising number of infections, the infected individuals have been beheld by a miserly few. It has been a case of news reports on television and radio.
In fact, although the general public believes that the corona virus is indeed a menacing pandemic, there is a general feeling that the procedures to avert it have been blown out of proportion. There is a general feeling that the world leaders had to first interrogate whether the health measures which WHO instituted were well informed or out of panic.
The Statistics are not Catastrophic
If you go into ratios and stats you will find that while there are alarming levels of infections, the deaths are relatively not as alarming. Just half a million people have perished to the corona virus in the globe that has over 6.7 billion people; this cannot be considered a catastrophe, by any means.
Indeed, there are more people recovering from corona virus than those perishing. The lockdown was premised on the hope that the virus will come and go within one or two months. However, a high number of infections continue to be registered all over the world.
Better still, it’s one thing for people to test positive for Covid19 but dying of the same is a completely different story. We should debate along those lines. For instance, while America has lost over 132,000 people to covid-19, Uganda has lost none!
Despite this good news, the Ugandan government is still very eager to pose as an endangered country by virtue of the people who have tested positive to covid19. Why should Uganda adopt the same measures like Brazil, America and other countries that have been hit hard by the virus? Truly, more Ugandans have died of the enforcement of directives by the security agencies than of the corona virus.
It’s clear that the NRM government is not looking at the figures and trends of the virus in the country. It’s rather operating basing on the figures from Brazil, America and other such countries. If Ugandans are recovering even before a vaccine is found then we should be confident that Covid19 can be contained without sacrificing people’s livelihoods.
We should be honest and concede that mankind can live side by side with the corona virus, like it has with the previous pandemics which have had a devastating effect on the world.
As we speak now, there is no direct vaccine for Ebola, AIDS, SARS and the ZIKA virus. Nevertheless, those pandemics are somehow forgotten!
We are almost certain that the vaccine for the corona virus will not be found in the near future. There is a high chance of it simply subsiding without the healing powers of a vaccine or health guidelines that are crippling people’s livelihoods.
And the narrative now is that ‘registering a big number of Covid19 patients and a high death rate from the same are dissimilar’. The implication is that our basis for the fight against the pandemic should rely on the number of deaths vis a vis that of infections.
If we base on the number of infections to institute tough measures, we miss the whole point. Experience has so far proved that most African countries took the drastic measures to enforce the lock-down before they knew what the fracas was all about.
Uganda doesn’t have the structure to handle a lockdown
African countries based on scanty information from WHO to force their citizens into self-isolation; even when it was clear that they don’t have the necessary social economic structures to shut down their economies. As time goes by, the world will come to realize that the lock-down was one of the most idiotic measures ever undertaken in the fight of the corona virus.
The Ugandan government, for instance, caged people in a complete lockdown in the entire country for more than two months but failed to feed even one percent of the population. When the population cried out, the government dispatched food; rotten beans full of stones and poor quality posho. This substandard material, they managed to distribute in only Kampala and Wakiso. Although these governments couldn’t feed their citizens, they made it a criminal offence for anyone to volunteer direct assistance to the suffering people in the form of food grants.
The Ugandan government has so far collected over shs40bn from willing citizens, but it’s unlikely that it will be accounted for.
The health care system is in shambles but government hasn’t the idea of utilizing those newly generated resources to revamp it. Yet there are plenty of case studies to learn from in other countries. For instance, in China, when Covid19 broke out, the Chinese government managed to build a make shift hospital in just two months!
What has the Ugandan government done so far?
Well, the Ugandan government doesn’t deserve any credit for the fight against the pandemic. Why? They were accomplices in allowing it into the country in the first place – when they took long to close Entebbe airport.
The majority of the Covid19 cases have been imported into the country – there being a primary responsibility of government to deal with incoming persons. Their main preoccupation has been to stop people from working and incarcerating so many Ugandans in prisons for breaching presidential directives.
However, the one question President Museveni and his Covid19 team need to answer is, ‘what will happen if the virus remains and; without a vaccine?
Will the lockdown which has kept our children at home, hindered various Ugandans’ abilities to earning a living, for the last four months, stay in place forever; if the virus stays for good?
- Fred Daka Kamwada is a seasoned journalist, blogger and political analyst for over a decade in Uganda
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