Securing vulnerable communities during the Corona pandemic

Societies around the world are struggling to come to terms with the unfolding global public health
crisis of Corona Virus. Defined by escalating sobering and distressful statistics of infections,
death and exponential spread; the world is struggling through all fronts in containing the spread
and impacts of COVID-19. Uganda, like most African countries have registered cases of Corona
Virus, and the national leadership together with health experts and WHO have been at the fore
front of monitoring and enforcing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

We would like to applaud the Government of Uganda that enacted timely decisions to contain the spread of the virus and hence controlling it devastating effects. through Ministry of health has made progress in provision of health services over the past two decades, although access to basic health services remains the exception not the norm. Even taking such common-sense precautions as washing hands with soap, is often unaffordable luxury to more than half of the population who live in hard to reach rural communities that lack access to clean water, proper housing, good roads and markets. There is already finger pointing and allegations of violent use of force against the terrified population. The grim reality is not unique to Uganda, but shared by most African countries.

The greater Northern region of the country – Lango, Acholi, Teso, West Nile and Karamoja regions with over 13 million people emerging from decades of destructive violent armed conflicts, are in recovery and rehabilitation processes; they are a traumatized population and continue to face recurrent severe natural disaster such as disease, climate related disasters (drought, flood) and recently locusts’ invasion. The West Nile part of Greater North is currently hosting close to a million refugees from South Sudan and DRC.

While Karamoja region, a Nomadic society living in enormously difficult semi-desert environment,
regarded as the poorest part of Uganda with lack of water, lack of proper housing, lack of education,
l0poor road access and food insecurity. In Karamoja, the hygiene, affordability, existing myths and
culture could be dangerous in this time of emergency. Adherence to precautionary practises to
prevent the spread of Covid-19 would be severely compromised by reality.

Generally, Greater northern Uganda are a population that has for long been trapped in despair, anger, struggling to bounce back and threats of Corona Virus is seen as a looming shadow of yet another long period of suffering, pain, death and a relapse into hopelessness.

Managing of Covid-19 obviously presents more complex arrays of challenges for the population in
Greater North. The current issues of urgent attention include the myths circulating around the pandemic,
anxiety and deaths, misinformation fast spreading through various media platforms, violent retaliation within communities, trauma triggers and trust deficiency.

As an organisation dedicated to the promoting the wellbeing of humanity, AYINET is deeply concerned
about how COVID-19 has exponentially threatened so many of us, including the communities we have
collectively served here at home in Uganda, and around the continent of Africa over the last decades.

We want to every extent possible mobilise and educate community dwellers on Infection, Prevention
and Containment (IPC) of COVID-19 and protect the vulnerable population in the Greater Northern
Uganda including the million of refugees. In order to meet the speed, intensity and real-time cooperation and response that this disease demands, AYINET therefore seeks to;

1. Mobilise and educate community on Infection, Prevention and Containment (IPC) of
COVID-19
2. Provide psychosocial/trauma emergency response in light of Covid-19 crisis
3. Mitigate potential conflicts arising from Covid-19. This will focus on youth on the youth population who remains a huge force that if not urgently tapped and engaged meaningfully will
become a negative force during this Covid-19 paranoia

Through effective collaboration and partnerships with Government and key stakeholders, AYINET continues to demonstrate commitment to social uplift and recovery of war survivors. It is possible to make safety and survival through this pandemic a reality for all and most especially vulnerable communities.

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