Ambassador Natalie reaffirms US commitment to support KCCA as 1.6 million Pfizer Covid 19 vaccine doses availed.

By E K Benj, Faith Barbara Namagembe & Joshua Mulindwa Updated at 1217 EAT on Friday 1st October 2021

United States top Envoy to Uganda H.E Natalie E. Brown on Thursday launched a $1.6 million (nearly UGX 6 billion) grant at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) headquarters representing the first year of funding of a five-year partnership between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and KCCA.

R-L Kampala Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, State Minister for Kampala Hon Kabuye Kyofatogabye, US Ambassador to UG H.E Natalie E Brown and KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka led by a medical worker at the vaccination site , KCCA Gardens on Thursday 30th Sep 2021 PHOTO/ E K Benj

The grunt is to improve health services in the Kampala City Metropolitan area.  HICGI News Agency has learnt that the project will improve access to HIV and TB services and focus on specific health challenges faced by the urban poor like recurrent cholera and typhoid outbreaks.  Statistics indicate that almost 20 percent of people living with HIV in Uganda reside in the Kampala metropolitan area.  US Mission in Kampala says this project will also strengthen the capacity of the KCCA health team to plan, monitor, and prevent urban health issues.

Since 2010, CDC has been supporting KCCA through the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) to implement comprehensive HIV and TB services in six high-volume public health facilities as well as supporting services in private not-for-profit and for-profit facilities and centers of excellence.  This grant will also support the KCCA health team to provide leadership and oversight of the health sector, both public and private, in this region.

After launching the CDC-KCCA project, Ambassador Brown visited a nearby U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supported vaccination site and interacted with health workers and Kampala residents who came out to receive COVID-19 vaccines donated by the United States.

“I am pleased to see that the more than 1.6 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by the United States are being used at 58 vaccination sites throughout Kampala as part of our comprehensive effort to combat COVID-19 and save Ugandan lives,” Ambassador Brown said, thanking the front-line health workers administering the jab and community mobilizers who have been providing accurate information about COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness. 

In September, the United States delivered a total of 2,321,350 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Uganda.  The vaccine is being rolled out at 58 outreach sites in Kampala, Mukono, and Wakiso.

“Today, several Kampala residents I spoke with told me why it was important for them to get vaccinated and why they think others should take COVID-19 seriously and get the jab too.  I encourage everyone who is eligible to take that important step toward protecting your health and the health of your community,” Brown said.  “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and one of the best tools we have in reducing unnecessary illnesses and deaths.”

In her remarks KCCA Executive Director, Ms. Dorothy Kisaka recognised U.S. Government delegation led by Ambassador Natalie E. Brown with Lisa Nelson, CDC Country Director, Richard Nelson, USAID Mission Director, Donna Kabatesi, Associate Director Programs, Heather Smith-Taylor, USAID Health and HIV Office Director.

US Envoy H.E Natalie E. Brown looks on as KCCA Boss appends signiture at the Launch of The New PEPFAR Award for strengthening Urban Health Care Services

Kisaka also commended the Hon. Kabuye Kyofatogabye the State Minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs and Kampala Lord Mayor, His Worship Erias Lukwago aswell as Implementing partners Executive Director IDI, Dr. Andrew Kambugu, Chief of Party, USAID Maternal and Child Health Activity, Dr. Nathan Tumwesigye, Chief of Party, USAID Social and Behavior Change Activity Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, Glory Mkandawire.

She stated that The National Development Plan(NDP) III highlights that improving the quality of life of all Ugandans is a central goal that is partly achieved through Improvement of Public Health and Environmental Management. “KCCA is tasked with ensuring Kampala has healthy and productive citizens. It is important to note that the fostering of health equity and health equality; the creation of frameworks for urban health and partnerships are critical to the attainment of an improved quality of life for the Kampala populace.”

Kampala City has a large urban poor population of about 57% and a large transient population with 4.5 million accessing the City during the day that affects planning with an annual demographic growth rate of 3.9 percent according to the KCCA statistical abstract for the year 2019.  Migration/ Fluidity of the population makes Disease Surveillance & community-based service delivery more complex.

Kisaka noted that the Uniqueness of Health Service Delivery in Kampala City as documented in the draft Kampala Urban Health strategy(2021 to 2025) is characterized by: Unregulated & dominant private sector that constitutes 99% of the 1,497 health facilities within the City; Poor urban-specific referral pathways in addition to the dominance of self-referral tendencies; Execution of the non-urban driven health policies and guidelines as the blueprint in these key documents does not necessarily apply to an urban setting; Congestion in the absolutely free 25 public health care facilities by urban poor coupled with unnecessary burdening of public facilities.

She added that Kampala has an HIV prevalence of 6.9% among adults aged 15 to 64 years which is higher than the national prevalence of 6.2% according to the 2016 Uganda Population HIV Impact Assessment. Furthermore, the estimated TB prevalence is 501 TB cases per 100,000 persons which is higher than most urban settings in Uganda according to 2014 Uganda TB Prevalence survey.

“Therefore, having CDC today support KCCA under the Government to Government (G2G) Agreement to build the capacity for co-ordination, partnerships, governance, human resource capacity for HIV and TB service delivery, integration of HIV and TB services with other disease programs, and integration of health information systems, integration for surveillance, M&E and laboratory systems strengthening.” Kisaka said.

Kisaka noted that KCCA values partners like the US- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who are providing a 5-year award of USD 1.631 Million grant annually to KCCA to support Urban HIV/ TB Services. This project builds on earlier efforts by CDC through Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) to strengthen the Urban Heath Services in Kampala.

In his appeal, Hon Kabuye said more support is still needed to vacciante more than 22 million people.

The Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago welcomed the US Ambassador at KCCA gardens and applauded the US government for the support to Uganda to improve the health of the people.

Lukwago disclosed that his has already gotten the to jabs of Astra zeneca, “am now waiting for the consquences we have been warned about of Astraneca.”

The United States has committed to donating 1.1 billion Pfizer doses worldwide and is the leading financial donor to the COVAX facility that also is providing COVID-19 vaccines to Uganda and many other countries. In Uganda, since the pandemic began, the United States has provided assistance valued at $111 million (nearly UGX 400 billion) to support Uganda’s COVID-19 response.

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