Uganda: Virus Has Taken 300 Lives, Soon MPs Cars Will Be a Health Risk

Uganda’s revolutionary leaders from the ‘Class of ’86’ like quoting a Biblical verse that chastises those who leave undone what they ought to do and then do what they ought not to.

The quote so aptly describes the conduct of most Ugandans that when it is invoked, we have no defence and just shut up.

Characteristically, we pay so much attention to problems that we have no hand in creating and instead ignore those that we cause.

The biggest health crisis we think we ever had is the coronavirus, something that we didn’t cause. We have fought it so hard that as we mark one year this week since the first Covid-19 infection was identified in Uganda, we have lost just over 300 people.

To achieve that relative level of success, we had a yearlong lockdown of which three months were almost total and a curfew that we still maintain for eight hours out of 24 hours daily. But the most biting measure is education institutions being closed for a year, keeping learners who constitute a third of the population at home.

We are yet to fathom the closure’s long-term impact, considering that baby production was not suspended — in fact it was enhanced because of lockdown idleness– meaning that at school re-opening, we shall have three times the number of first graders than we have capacity for in terms of classrooms and teachers.

Yes, five-year-olds, six-year-olds and seven-year-olds shall all be eyeing Standard One and will somehow have to observe social distance, meaning they will require six times the space that is available.

This particular item shows you how dedicated we are to fighting the problem, and let us not even mention that in Covid Year 2020 we grew our foreign debt by about 10 percent to fight the effects of the pandemic, and we are spending heaven-knows how much to purchase vaccines, a year after we almost successfully blocked and rolled back he virus.

How about the problems we cause ourselves, do we fight them with equal vigour?

In a full year of Covid-19 in Uganda, we lost 300 people. But in the first two months of 2021, we have lost an equal number to murders (including infanticide).

Besides the people murdered directly with malice afore thought, there are the 16 women we kill indirectly everyday by failing to provide safe processes for giving birth to them, which comes to 1,000 women so far. That is 1,000 women killed in two months by denial to adequate maternal care, not to mention the babies that perish with them.

Now take the case of the ‘dust’ covering the country in the past couple of weeks.