AGL: Salesians call for a helping hand to feed vulnerable people facing drastic effects of COVID 19 in Uganda
Namugongo, Saturday July 03, 2021
As Ugandans continue to suffer the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic as it is in other countries in the region, Salesians of Don Bosco in the Africa of Great Lakes Province (AGL) continue to seek support to feed the needy who are most vulnerable following the resurgence of more deadly COVID 19 in regional countries.
The situation is also complicated by lockdown imposed to stop the spreading of this deadly virus.
According to on ground information, Uganda is undergoing a difficult moment of COVID 19 lockdown due to its second wave more deadly. However, Rwanda also is in a complicated situation following the third wave of COVID 19 which is spreading very quickly than before. Hundreds of people are getting infected on a daily basis while others are dying in hospitals.
Salesians couldn’t remain relaxed and comfortable as they witness many people suffering due to hunger.
According to the Director of Don Bosco Namugongo, Father Elie NYANDWI, SDB “Most of the people in Uganda are no longer working because of the restrictions given by the government to contain the spread of the virus.”
“In fact, the most affected people are children and their parents from very poor backgrounds who normally get their daily bread from the daily earnings. Currently, the situation of COVID 19 patients is still alarming.” Father NYANDWI explains.
Health experts under the umbrella body Uganda Medical Association (UMA) have said that 80% of people infected with COVID-19 do not know that they are infected.
These doctors have therefore advised the people who have tested positive but have no symptoms to avoid moving outside their homes unless when seeking medical care.
Father Nyandwi describes the situation adding that “For now, the hospitals both private and public are overcrowded. And the medical bill for the COVID patients remains exorbitant whereby some private hospitals do not fear to charge up to 5 million Uganda Shilling per day (1,500 USD). Few rich people are able to raise such a big amount.”
Limited means push some people to use herbs as COVID 19 only means for treatment
Due to the unrestrained situation, most of the COVID patients remain at their homes, and treat themselves with lemon juice mixed with ginger, Father Nyandwi explains.
These patients also do steaming using herbs, and eucalyptus leaves, he added
“At Don Bosco Namugongo, we have a eucalyptus plantation, these days, it is frequently visited by both Salesians and neighbors searching for leaves for steaming. However, COVID patients who take antibiotics, and vitamins C & D from their homes without a medical prescription are at higher risk of getting more dangerous health complications. That is why, the death cases due to covid keep increasing day by day.” Father Nyandwi revealed.
With little means, Salesians trying to provide a helping hand
The Salesian community, with its limited resources, assists the poor during this critical moment by visiting and giving some food to the most vulnerable families.
Father Nyandwi said “The Salesian Cooperators and other collaborators around the mission of Namugongo are joining the activity of feeding the poor. We have made a whatsapp group where we share information about this activity. People of good will are giving generously the little they have, and those who do not give, they participate in distributing the food items to the needy. The most needed food items are for now: maize flour, beans and cooking oil.”
However, Father Nyandwi noted that “As per now, the situation has gone beyond our capacity. For instance, as of July 01st/07/2021, we tried to identify 50 of the most vulnerable families from our neighborhood to be assisted. These families couldn’t reach the community due to the restrictions imposed by the lockdown. We tried to organize some boda-bodas to deliver to them some food with beans and posho. We decided to offer 2 kg of beans and 2 kg of maize flour, since the number kept increasing drastically.”
“We also cut about 30 bunches of bananas from our Garden, with some vegetables (Sukuma Wiki) and shared them with them. Hence, as Salesians with a big concern of what is happening, we take this opportunity to thank and appeal to all generous people who can participate and join us to help the needy in this period of lockdown. May the Almighty God continue to bless those who give cheerfully without sparing”