Dear President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa;
I greet you in the name of all revolutionaries that have gone before us. In functional countries, it should be the Presidents to look out for the Kings. However, I will put my royalty aside and seek your audience.
In times like these, countries call upon their best brains. My role as a Philosopher King is to provide wisdom in the hard times. We are in hard times, we are at war, and we are minutes away from losing the way. As such, as a King of Yoruba, I have dedicated time to ensure we don’t lose this war. We urgently need to roll out a new COVID-19 response plan. A plan customized to the Ugandan context. Therefore, I am writing to you with a brief of this plan!
1. THE UGANDA COVID FORCE, COVID APP
In the new COVID-19 plan, we are going to take the fight to the household level aka Mayumba Kumi. Every Ugandan must play their part in this war. We are in this together, rich or poor, young or old, Munyankore or Muganda, this can be our finest hour, or it can be our point of exit.
Uganda has about 7.3 million households, each standing at an average composition of 5 people. In this new response plan, we shall have to create an entirely new force called the “Uganda Covid Force aka UGACOF.” It will be a paramilitary of sorts. For every 10 households, we expect to have a representative.
This person will be trained on all issues COVID-19. They will be responsible for all the outreach activities. They will feed back with a daily report as regards the Covid situation in the 10 households. We expect a daily real time update when it comes to who is infected, their age group, the severity of their infection, mild or moderate? These people will also make a record of all households, by name, age group, marital status, employment status to mention but a few.
We have to collect data in real time. This data should produce some insights as we fight back against COVID-19. That means, we are going to have a fully fledged force of 730,000 Ugandans serving in the COVID FORCE. These will be the foot soldiers in this fight. They will sensitize households on vaccination, on Covid-19 home care therapies etc It is important to form this Covid force as soon as yesterday. We can make use of the University students who are back home. They are young, zealous, passionate and ready to serve their country.
Upon the formation of the force, we must move with urgency to create the Ugandan Covid app. All our foot soldiers will be empowered with smart phones and they will input data through this app. In areas where internet is poor, we must move to create a dedicated COVID USSD code. Perhaps a *190#
On the App, Ugandans can also sign in as users to see real time reports, get directions to their nearest health Centre, vaccination Centre, report a case etc. Ugandans should also be able to achieve the same functionality with the USSD code.
2. CAPACITY ENHANCEMENT
We must immediately enhance our Health Centre Threes to be able to deal with all Covid cases in their jurisdiction. Our philosophy is to deal with COVID-19 at source. We must immediately invest in oxygen plants. Every major town and city must have an oxygen plant. This we must do urgently. Enchance capacity at Health Centre threes by training the human resource, investing in ICU sections.
3. ELIMINATE, SUBSTITUTE, ENGINEERING CONTROLS, ADMINSTRATIVE CONTROLS AND PPE
We must urgently retreat to the hierarchy of safety. Unfortunately we have focused much on the PPEs before addressing the other solutions in this hierarchy.
We must eliminate pockets of superspreaders. We must find ways of designing out. We must make it easy for people to comply.
Going forward, we must get all taxis to remove the excess seats. We must employ design-out to ensure social distancing. We must revise our building code and regulations to ensure that all new buildings meet the ventilation requirements. Our Covid force will also provide similar guidelines to households, how to optimize homes against Covid-19.
4. COVID IMPACT ASSESSMENTS
We must balance our struggle against COVID-19 with the economic repercussions. We must ensure life can move on amidst this fight against the virus.
How do we prepare businesses for the new normal? We can’t outrightly close businesses. We must investigate possibilities of such businesses adopting Covid-19 control measures while ensuring continuity. We could certify businesses that have complied with the outlined measures. The same should apply for schools. We can engage UNBS and Health Inspectors to provide these certification marks.
The foundation of every revolution is its ability to tell its story. No revolution survives without a good story. Our foot soldiers must pass on the word of mouth. Any COVID-19 questions should be answered at source. Media stations must provide at least one hour of airtime everyday dedicated to airing out COVID-19 sensitization messages. We must be aware of our enemy 24-7. We must sing the sanitize song. We must sing the social distancing song. Billboards, banners, flyers, public speaker systems, we must keep this fight on our lips.
For lack of time, I will share the other points in this new response plan as soon as we catch-up. Ensure this happens before the end of July. I will bring along my team at Innovation Consortium. They have produced a local ventilator, rolled out pedal taps among other innovations.
King of Yoruba!
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