I felt sad when parliament approved Shs 291 billion to procure Covid-19 vaccines initially targeted at teachers and frontline medical personnel.
All the seven companies that have ordered Covid-19 vaccines in the USA are battling lawsuits for damages, including Pfizer and Moderna. The impression being created that there is a scramble for vaccines and that ‘poor countries in Africa risk being left out’ is cunning propaganda to incite us to rush for these killer vaccines.
There is absolutely no justification for sinking Ugandan taxpayers’ money in Covid-19 vaccines. Already, Ugandans have lost money to manufacturers of fake temperature guns, Covid-19 test kits, ventilators, etc.
First and foremost, there is no vaccine that has worked for any patient with coronavirus because of the rapid rate of mutation of these viruses. We must re-examine the evidence presented about Covid-19 cases and deaths, which have largely been cooked!
Fix the queues at Internal Affairs office
It is now public information that Ugandans have to be at the Immigration headquarters in Kampala as early as 3am so as to get passports.
Every morning, including Saturday, lately, Ugandans in excess of 500 can be seen in long queues. No social distancing is possible due the numbers.
One wonders whether Covid-19 is still present in Uganda. The breach of the Covid-19 prevention protocols at the ministry of Internal Affairs is very disturbing since the said ministry is supposed to be aware that crowds like we see are not acceptable under Covid-19 conditions.
It is, therefore, pertinent that the ministry of Internal Affairs sticks to the auto mode of service delivery, where members of the public are duly programmed when visiting immigration offices for services, in addition to enhancing capacity of regional centres.
This can address congestion. In addition, if the surge is due to externalization of labour, the immigration authorities should innovate to avail Ugandans a decent service from a stadium like at Lugogo.
These young people need to be supported to attain their dreams especially when we cannot employ all of them locally. After all, the remittance that we get from them is crucial for our economy.
Lastly, government entities in Uganda need to be people-centered in delivering services so that people are surely served in a dignified manner. It only takes just innovation and willingness to care about the common man/woman.
Elected leaders should prioritise environment
Eight people were recently killed by landslides after a rainstorm hit Kyesika cell in Buhweju district.
The downpour that started at about midday destroyed property, including Crescent Tiwangye Asiimwe’s kitchen where the deceased was taking shelter.
Research has it that since last year 2020 and this year 2021, most of the families lost their loved ones, houses, infrastructures like roads, churches, schools and health centers due to heavy rains and storms. The government should consider constructing embankments on the river to save people from misery whenever it rains.
The government had a good proposal of building a dam to help manage the flow of water but some politicians opposed it. Ugandans should plant bamboo on either side of the river banks in order to control flooding.
Uganda’s disaster management agency has advised people not to walk, ride or drive across any flooded roads or bridges, and to keep away from river banks and steep slopes. I, therefore, call upon the newly elected leaders to work with the relevant leaders to prioritize on the environment.
The new Covid-19 variant is deadlier
Covid-19 has left most of our lives in shambles. No sooner had we made firm resolutions than different variants were reported all over the world. The prominent ones being the South African, Brazilian and UK variants.
These three new variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than the original variant. Some experts say that the UK variant is 70 per cent more infectious and 30 per cent more deadly than the original strain. Naturally all viruses mutate
(change) as they replicate.
Therefore, these changes were expected of Covid-19. To date the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports about 4,000 mutations. Some people have strong immune systems that will fight off the infections like viruses and fully recover.
Others have weak immune systems that cannot easily fight off such infections. The virus will best thrive in the body where the immune system is weak. Regular testing (gene sequencing) is how these new variants are detected. Vaccine manufacturers use a number of scientific models to predict changes in the viruses and how they are likely to impact on the vaccine.
This informs what variant the vaccine is best suited for and how it is administered. Vaccines can be customized to target different variants as a result of new mutations. This has been the case with the annual influenza vaccines. This partly explains why there are different vaccines and varying levels of efficacy.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the technology and global governance framework to restructure Covid-19 vaccines, targeting new variants already exists. WHO believes the vaccines presently available should be able to provide a high degree of protection.
Since the variants do not significantly differ, the current mode of prevention and protection should be maintained. Wear a mask at all times, maintain social distance, wash your hands with soap and water as frequently as practically possible or use a hand sanitizer.
Let’s clean up our home
Every year, the world adds 51 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than nine out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air, contributing a third of all deaths by stroke, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
That environmental degradation affects quite number of things that are vital in guaranteeing our existence, including but not limited to, drinking water, foodstuff, housing. This environmental degradation leads to violations of human rights like the right to good health.
Currently, Uganda should be at its best on environmental awareness, considering the fact they are soon producing oil from the Albertine region. Similarly, the vegetation is being cleared for the construction of oil infrastructure such as the oil refinery, the East African crude oil pipeline, new airport, among others.
Sadly, it is the same region where part of the Bugoma central forest reserve is being sacrificed for sugarcane growing business.
We must urgently get serious about looking after our environment. We as people of Uganda must turn the page on poor governance, careless politicking and act to preserve our future.
Uganda must adopt and adhere to ambitious, holistic policies and measures to preserve the environment and biodiversity, combat air, water and soil pollution to mitigate climate change, and ensure proper waste disposal.
All of us should be galvanized with a sense of an impending emergency around a variety of initiatives to demand rights related to a clean and healthy environment.
Article 39 of the constitution of Uganda provides that every Ugandan has a right to a clean and healthy environment. It is, therefore, extremely important for the government of Uganda to educate people from an early age about the need to preserve the environment.