COVID 19 EMERGENCY - Supporting an Emergency Plan in the Wakiso District, Uganda

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Project location: Uganda, Wakiso
Project start date: July 2020 - Project end date: December 2020
Project number: 2020-027
Beneficiary: A-Z Children Ltd T/A Nurture Africa (NA)

Nurture Africa is a non-governmental organisation registered both internationally and in Uganda. The organisation has a targeted focus upon providing access to healthcare, education and economic empowerment through business training and micro-finance projects and mainstreams child rights and gender equality throughout its projects.

The Nurture Africa Health Centre in Wakiso District, Uganda, is a 24-hour facility providing emergency, primary health, HIV care and treatment, Tuberculosis (TB), maternal and child health (including ante natal, ultrasound, delivery, post-natal care, immunisation, family planning) to approximately 30,000 patients a year. It serves the population of Nansana and surrounding areas with a catchment area of approximately 500,000. It serves the most vulnerable in society; those living below the poverty line, who are HIV infected or with other factors that make them vulnerable.

This health centre offers comprehensive Maternal and child health services (ante natal, ultrasound, delivery, post-natal, immunization, emergency referral, transport from hard to reach areas), SRH/Family planning services including Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) services, Primary health care services, HIV prevention, care and treatment services, TB services, laboratory services, cancer screening, admissions and referral services, disability care services, comprehensive outreach services (ANC, mobile ultrasound, PNC, FP, immunizations, HCT, ART).

The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation supported Nurture Africa in 2017 as a partner of the South Sudan Humanitarian plan and it is still supported in an ongoing project in the refugee’s camp of Imvepi, in Uganda.

Uganda registered its first case of COVID-19 on March the 22nd 2020. To address this situation the country has put in place a robust surveillance system with emphasis on infection prevention and control through the national task force. Due to Uganda’s poor health infrastructure with 65 ICU beds for a population of over 40 million containing the virus now through ‘test, treat and trace’ is vital. Entebbe Airport the international airport of Uganda is located in Wakiso. Wakiso also surrounds Kampala the capital which is home to a multicultural population including many Asians (Chinese, Japanese etc.). Some experts say that COVID- 19 has been in Uganda for some time.  The Government has recognized the serious of the issue and put the necessary measures in place. Although the confirmed number of cases is still small this number will increase significantly without proper controls to be continually put in place.

It is important to note that vulnerable people, those living with TB, people living with HIV especially those with order disease conditions and those with advanced HIV disease may be at greater risk for COVID-19 related complications. Ante natal, immunization and delivery services are usually crowded which results in an increased risk of transmission and acquisition of COVID-19. Furthermore, most clients use public means of transport to access their care at health facilities and this increases their risk of exposure. These and other predisposing factors for the continued transmission of COVID-19 are being mitigated and prevented.

In response to the Covid-19 emergency, the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant to Nurture Africa to ensure that it is fully prepared to assist in the Ugandan Government’s national response to COVID- 19. In particular, financial support from NaEPF will help Nurture Africa achieve the following objectives:

  • To screen 20,000 community members for COVID- 19 over a 6- month period
  • To ensure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available to vulnerable clients and staff to mitigate risk of exposure
  • To develop adequate protocols to ensure all patients and staff are protected and those considered infected by COVID- 19 are cared for in the appropriate way
  • To ensure suspected COVID 19 cases are isolated within the health centre and do not pose a risk to other patients (HIV, TB clients, pregnant women etc.) and to ensure ‘social distancing’ is adhered to during emergency and routine appointment
  • To implement safe but necessary protocols to ensure TB and HIV clients are still able to access their medications but at the same time kept safe
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