The former Forum for Democratic Change President, Dr. Kizza Besigye has outlined 11 proposals to be considered by government including deploying medics to high risk areas and using the country’s reserve to support citizens during tough economic moment.
Besigye in a statement on Sunday, a day after the country registered the first COVID-19 case, said the socio-economic proposals are critical for discussion and implementation during the pandemic.
“Deploy doctors (including UPDF) to areas where they are most needed especially those which have poor access to healthcare systems,” said Dr. Besigye.
Uganda’s patient to doctor is 1:11,000 against the World Health Organizations 1:1,000.
Dr. Besigye wants government to establish centers in all districts. Uganda now has 135 districts.
“Declare centers in all the districts where people who need support can get it, and where support is sent to help the vulnerable to maintain their health to fight disease,” said Besigye.
He also wants envisages government setting up special centers where those who are suspected to be infected with the Coronavirus disease can access services.
On the socioeconomic front, Besigye said measures should be in place to manage crowds.
“Provide management procedures for crowded areas like markets. Open up temporary markets in less congested areas and facilitated with hygiene materials.”
The former presidential candidate also said special remedies should be devised to insulate incomes and businesses of citizens.
“We must look at income which is going to collapse for many people. Many will lose income. Special measures should be made to safeguard people’s incomes and businesses.”
Other measures advised by Besigye are; optimally use the country’s reserves to support citizens to get out of tough times; all means of reducing interests on loans to be immediately considered and the Central Bank must to take lead role including reducing its own lending rate.
He also wants measures be put in place to restructure existing loans and stop recalling loans during the period of the pandemic.
Besigye called on authority to ensure landlords restructure rent obligations on tenants and to avoid evicting tenants who are unable to meet their rent obligations during this period.
On businesses that are vulnerable because of Coronavirus outbreak like Tourism industry and transport industry (as we move towards lock down) Besigye efforts to be put in place to cause tax relief and business support to help them survive the crisis.
Lastly, Besigye appealed to citizens to support each other out of compassion. “Hold each other’s hand, defend each other even where there will be less state intervention and let comradeship thrive for survival.”