Senior presidential adviser on epidemics, Dr. Monica Musenero has called on all politicians to make time, during their campaign rallies, and sensitize their supporters on the urgency of individual responsibility towards mitigating the spread of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Musenero stated that covid-19 came at a very sensitive time in Uganda and that sometimes, it seems fashionable for some political actors to oppose anything that has comes from the government, even when its a health concern that they should take on.
“So you find that many politicians don’t carry the covid-19 message to their people. Also, many of them are getting infected; as they can’t keep a mask on. They put it on to make us the scientists happy because that was the condition for them to continue with their campaigns. When they get to the people, they lower them (masks) as they speak,” she added.
She noted that although there was a major myth; people attaching covid-19 to politics and other theories of its non existence, it has been overcome as many have evidence from friends and relatives who have suffered from and others, unfortunately, succumbed to covid-19.
Dr. Musenero further criticized the political contenders for luring the people into massive processions without warning or discouraging them from such unhealthy practices that facilitate the spread of the virus.
“It is selfish for one to mind about getting what they want yet others are getting infected. Which politician actually goes back to check if the people who were at their rally got infected? We are burying those people. They are crying out for testing but for you, you have moved on with your rallies,” she said.
She therefore urged the political actors to incorporate the covid-19 message in their rallies “because as a nation, we should have some common ground which should be fighting covid-19.”
“Politicians should know that whatever their message is, they need people who are alive. This disease does not only kill, we know that it has long term effects on a big percentage of people who get infected. People need to be educated more about COVID-19.”
She also said that it’s better for politicians to give people a mask, even if it’s a surgical one than giving them Shs 1000.
According to Fred Makaire, Executive Director Save for Health Uganda, there is a challenge in testing due to the intense community transmission.
“We don’t know who is infected and who is carrying the disease at the community level. These days, people are having campaigns, functions like weddings and from what I see, people are not following the SOPs. Even at burials, there is no social distancing neither wearing of face masks and hand washing has also stopped,” Makaire bemoaned.