EU-IGAD COVID-19 Response: IOM supports 2,500 in northern Uganda with dignity kits

IOM Uganda Chief of Mission Sanusi Tejan Savage (3rd from Right) and IGAD boss in Uganda Lucy Dexbacher,  perform the formal handover of dignity kits to Chief Administrative Officer Thompson Obong in Kampala, 25 March 2022.

By Innocent Vuga

Leaders from Amuru district have received an assortment of items aimed at supporting about 2,500      vulnerable people affected by COVID-19. 

The “Dignity kits” were      handed over by Mr. Sanusi Tejan Savage, Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), on 25 March, 2022. 
 The UGX 147 million support is part of the EU-IGAD COVID-19 Response programme. Funded by the European Union, the programme is mitigating the health and socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the IGAD sub-region.      The items donated included household hygiene items like water collection jerry cans, buckets for storing drinking water, tippy taps, and laundry soap. Others included personal supplies such as bathing soap, sanitary pads, and clothing.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Ms. Anna Merrifield, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Uganda, stated: “This is part of continued efforts of team Europe (the European Union and its member states as well as financial institutions) to support countries to tackle the pandemic. The EU adopted the motto ‘no one is safe until everybody is safe’ to show solidarity in the COVID-19 response especially in Africa”     

The IGAD Head of Mission in Uganda, Lucy Dexbacher said: “We would like to appeal to our member states, to the UN family, and development partners like EU, to strengthen the health systems of our member states, so that incase of any other pandemic in future, it finds when we are ready to face it.”

IOM Chief of Mission Sanusi Tejan Savage said most people know COVID as a disease that has brought the world to its knees; indeed, a big chunk of the EU funding has gone to support surveillance, screening, testing and clinical management of the pandemic.  But, he said, COVID is much more than just a health crisis. 

“Our assessment in Amuru and Adjumani districts have, for instance, showed that COVID caused a spike in cases of sexual and gender-based violence, and forced people to take desperate survival measures. We therefore hope that these items will contribute to restoring the dignity of victims of SGBV and other vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with disability among others.” 

For his part, the Amuru district Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Thompson Obong, pledged transparency and accountability towards the intended beneficiaries. He also spoke with palpable optimism about the renovation of Bibia health centre, under the same EU funding.

“They [project] were able to, among others, construct the out-patient department; these construction works are still ongoing,” he said. “They are also helping us to construct the in-patient department and latrines which have eight stances each, and revamping the maternity ward. They are also constructing the incinerator, medical ash pit and staff quarters.”  

Last year, the project handed over support worth UGX 662.7 Million, including a pharmaceutical fridge, COVID test kits and reagents; personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as gloves and masks; and infection control items such as sanitizer, soap, disinfectants, and thermometers.

Besides funding salaries of some health workers and screeners, the project is supporting rehabilitation of Bibia Health Centre III. Bibia is the referral facility for Elegu Point of Entry, and the works are meant to increase its ability to respond to health emergencies and support the rollout of essential services.  

About the EU-IGAD COVID-19 Response programme
In 2020, the European Union committed 60 million euros to help stop COVID-19, mitigate its effects on the most vulnerable, and lay the foundation for long-term recovery in seven      countries under the Intergovernmental      Authority on Development (IGAD). These are Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somalia. The regional project is managed by the      UNOPS      and implemented by the IGAD, IOM, UNICEF, Trademark East Africa (TMEA) and the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ). 

UNOPS is managing the delivery of 53 million euros of the project, to increase the capacity of IGAD to coordinate national responses, increase access to health and socio-economic support for vulnerable groups, and ensure that borders and critical supply chains are safe for trade. This is being implemented in partnership with IGAD, IOM, UNICEF and TMEA.  GIZ is managing and implementing the digital health solutions component of the programme, which is co-funded by the German Government.
For more information / media enquiries, please contact IOM Uganda Public Information Officer, Richard M Kavuma at | Tel: +256 312 263 210 | +256 772 709 917

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being