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Uganda's COVID-19 fight is exemplary, a success story - Atwine

Dr Diana Atwine

Dr Diana Atwine

Uganda will not emulate Tanzania and Burundi by unreservedly opening up the economy and the country amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr Diana Atwine has said. 
Medical workers in the private sector this week suggested that Uganda benchmarks in Tanzania and Burundi to see how it can open up the economy even in the face of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

The president of the Society of Uganda Private Medical Practitioners Dr Lulume Bayiga said that it is going to be an uphill task to convince Ugandans that the health impact of COVID-19 is as big as earlier intimated when the country has recorded no fatalities. To date Uganda's confirmed cases stand at 848 with 780 recoveries and no deaths yet. 

Lulume argued that Tanzania and Burundi have kept their economies up and running amidst the pandemic and yet no loss of lives or severely affected cases were recorded. Dr Lulume was speaking to journalists at their offices in Kawempe on Thursday.

"That we learn how to live with COVID-19 the way the people of Tanzania are living with it and we have not seen dead bodies littered all over the country, allover Lake Victoria and so on. I think the president needs to be guided in science, also to benchmark with Tanzania. President [Pombe] Magufuli has not come out to declare a quarantine, he has not declared a curfew to the people, he did not lockdown, the people have been working, children going to school." Lulume said. 

Adding: "This is the East African Community, we should be seeing very many people infected with COVID-19 in Tanzania and Burundi. We should be hearing reports if at all the national media doesn’t allow people to report we should be able to at least be seeing Facebook, Twitter reporting the number of deaths in very many hospitals. So as a country we need to benchmark and see what other people have done."
However, Atwine said the perceived normality in Tanzania and Burundi amidst the pandemic is farfetched because their people are dying of coronavirus in hundreds and thousands according to information shared between health experts in the region.
Atwine said in fact Uganda's fight against coronavirus is a success story and many experts across the world are instead benchmarking here. She said despite carrying out the second most coronavirus tests in Africa, Uganda has managed to keep the infection rates low with no deaths and a high percentage of recoveries. 
"What is there to learn [from Tanzania and Burundi]? Do you know thousands of people who have died just because they don’t share with you? Do you know how many thousands, thousands, were not talking about hundreds but thousands of people who have died? When you don’t declare, you’re like in the dark. How do we operate on assumption because other countries that declare we have seen. In Africa, were one of the best. Everyone around the globe, they call us to ask how we’re managing COVID. The first country that has tested more is South Africa, we’re second [in Africa] yet we have still maintained the low numbers, why? That is our strategy that is how we have kept the infections out of the country for this long. Look at those countries that relaxed, they bought even extra land for graves. Is that what we want," said Atwine. 

Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli has been openly sceptical of everything pandemic-related. Even though he closed schools and banned public gatherings, the other sectors remained open, and he argued against closing churches and mosques. 

Last month, Magufuli triggered conspiracy theories after he said fruits and other nonliving objects he had had secretly sent to the laboratory had come back positive for COVID-19, a move which was followed by opening up the economy, even for tourists, under normal and regular pre-COVID border rules. The last tally in Tanzania was at 509 cases and 21 deaths in early May. Burundi's cases have also been stuck at 144 cases and one death for more than 2 months now. 

Burundi also downplayed COVID-19 fears by running through a campaign and holding a general election, without restrictions. The country’s leadership maintain that Burundi is a country blessed by God and therefore needed not to quake because of a virus. Former Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza's death has been attributed to coronavirus much as the official government statement said that he died of cardiac arrest.

His wife contracted the virus and was being treated in Nairobi, Kenya at the time of his death. Atwine said that those countries are deliberately hiding data related to COVID-19, a mistake that Uganda is not about to make.
Meanwhile, medical practitioners also raised an alarm over what they called a deliberate act by the government to neglect private players in the health sector amidst the COVID-19 fight. Lulume said that many of their members suffered immensely during the early months of the lockdown while the government focused on only those in public facilities.

But Atwine said that the government tried to take care of practitioners in both public and private facilities, even though the support could not cover practitioners everywhere.



+2 #1 Mama Mia 2020-06-28 01:13
This Dr Lulume is the most foolish doctor I have seen in recent years.

How on earth would you benchmark yourself with Burundi? A country that lost their arrogant and idiot leader to covid 19 or Tanzania that is led by a clown?

If Tanzania was free from coronavirus, why did the clown order for fake medicine from Madagascar? These people power zombies always benchmark Uganda with United States but now because USA is the worst hit country in the world, these fools don't refer to it anymore.

After the recent BLM protests, the number of new cases have doubled and I am surprised this Diana- the know it all f***k all doesn't even mention it.

I think Obuku has proved to be the only honest and professional whose analysis can be relied upon. The rest should be sent back to school or be shot by firing squad. Shame on you Lulume!!!
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0 #2 Sabiti 2020-06-28 09:32
Dr. Lulume; I agree with you that we should use Tanzania and Burundi as benchmarks.

From what we know from diplomatic sources; COVID-19 deaths are littered everywhere in Burundi and Tanzania. Cases in Uganda also increased because of truck drivers from Tanzania.

So, using these two countries as benchmarks; we should come to the conclusion that our government in Uganda is doing a great job in keeping the number of SARS-Cov-2 infections down.
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+3 #3 Lysol 2020-06-28 18:41
It is a shame when Atwine tries to politicize the COVID-19 to just to please her boss and fool some of us. There's nothing to brag about here.

And it's not a competition to compare with other countries. It's not a number's game and not a one-size fits all kind of thing.

Each country handles it differently. It's too early to celebrate(with wine). It is over when it's really over and life goes back to normal.
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+1 #4 Amooti Mugi 2020-06-29 01:10
Quoting Lysol:
It is a shame when Atwine tries to politicize the COVID-19 to just to please her boss and fool some of us. There's nothing to brag about here.

And it's not a competition to compare with other countries. It's not a number's game and not a one-size fits all kind of thing.

Each country handles it differently. It's too early to celebrate(with wine). It is over when it's really over and life goes back to normal.

Ms Atwine, it's just unthinkable that Ugandans should celebrate " success" over China flu at this time!!!
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-1 #5 Wainaichi 2020-06-29 03:07
Uganda is a success story and let's us all shut the f..k up and live normal and healthy life.

Thank you president Museceni for sailing our Pearl of Africa through stormy waters ofvCovid 19 and please keep us safe from influx of infected brothers and sisters from neighbouring countries.If need may be ,let give more food and support to needy people.

Lets continue with successful programs of reaching out tonvulnetwble ones by the State and those amongst us who can spare to help the needy ones These are extraordinary times and bitter medicine is needed for bitter wounds.

Thank you Dr Atwine for letting us know what us happening around us Uganda be happy and safe,do not complain all time. Enjouy your health and life.Neera,neera,neera,Your Excellency presisent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.Please keep Uganda strong and safe.Vebale nyo,nyo,nyo!!
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0 #6 kabayekka 2020-06-29 08:11
One still reckons it is very risky to get sick in this country especially with the rest of the diseases!

Unless the patient has lots of money to buy the medical services.
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0 #7 kabayekka 2020-06-29 08:18
That is why most probably the government has a slash find to treat high class patients overseas.

Really COVID19 is not the only killer disease on the African continent for heaven's sake?
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+1 #8 Nassolo Brenda 2020-06-29 08:49
Let Atwine and her medical team go to the epicenter of the pandemic in Europe and USA, and apply their expertise to treat and stop the pandemic. Uganda leaders have childish boastfulness.
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+2 #9 Odongkara 2020-06-29 09:36
How do you call it a success when life is not yet back to normal, when thousands have lost their jobs, when millions have been fed on rotten beans and posho, when billions of shillings have gotten into personal pickets, when millions have lost an academic year and all these in the name of fighting Covid-19?

Tanzania, Burundi never locked down but have lived their lives normally and those who claim that the Tanzanians and Burundians have died in their thousands have not given any documentary evidence of dead bodies and graveyards! But in Uganda we have lost lives due to this useless lockdown from the hands of the UPDF, POLICE, LDU.

Tanzania can talk of success but not Uganda dr. Atwine. Take your politics to Rwakitura we don't need them in Gulu.
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-2 #10 Wainaichi 2020-06-29 13:40
Oh my God.You rubbish commentaries make me laugh for writing so stupid and ugly comments.

Even at the most difficult hour of our country you cannot stop writing nonsense. Guys, are you drunk or crazy lunatics??
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