A big majority of Kampala’s city residents are worried about the continued spread of COVID-19 in Uganda according to Twaweza’s Sauti Za Wanainchi Survey.
The survey, whose findings were released on Saturday found that 95% of the residents were worried about the current wave of the pandemic.
The worry is reportedly mainly due to the high rate of death in the current wave, cited by over half (53%) of the city’s residents.
Also, city residents are alarmed by the high number of patients in the current wave (20%), loss of income (17%), the rapid spread of the virus (13%).
Twaweza’s Sauti Za Wanainchi’s Senior Program Officer, Marie Nanyanzi says the findings were from interviews carried out with 610 residents of Kampala last month.
Uganda registered a spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths in June. Some analysis indicated that the country received an average of 825 cases per day in June.
Early in June, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni re-imposed a strict lockdown ordering for the closure of schools, suspension of inter-district travel, and public transport.
Kampala residents have a number of concerns around the resurgence of COVID-19 in the country. Foremost in their minds is the high death rate; half of the residents (53%) cite this as the reason for their worry but they also mention the number of patients (20%), lost income (17%), the rapid spread (13%) and more lockdowns (11%).
Half of Kampala residents (51%) say that the main reason they follow the standard operating procedures is to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19. Only 1 out of 10 (13%) mention not wanting to spread the virus as the reason for their compliance with the operating procedures.
Beyond the clear health implications and concerns, COVID-19 has brought a number of social and economic issues to the fore.
Evidence from around the world has shown that women are disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and by measures taken to prevent its spread. Across Uganda, eight out of ten citizens (79%) say teen pregnancy has become a bigger problem during the Coronavirus pandemic, and half say physical (51%), emotional (51%) and sexual (46%) violence has gotten worse. Citizens also report an increase in problems related to alcohol consumption (58%) and drug abuse (49%).
And as Uganda goes through another extended lockdown period, citizens are increasingly worried about their food supplies.
In May-June 2020, during lockdown measures, four of ten citizens (41%) reported that their household ran out of food once or more in the previous month, and a similar number (41%) reported having been hungry but not eaten due to a lack of money or other resources. One out of four citizens (25%) reported going for a whole day without food due to a lack of money or other resources.
More recent data shows that the situation could be worse during this wave of COVID-19: four out of ten Kampala households (38%) currently have no food stocks available at home, three times the number (13%) that reported having no food stocks at home in July-August 2020.
Professor Wilson Winston Muhwezi, a social behavioral scientist said from the findings, many people risk suffering from mental illnesses as an effect of trauma from COVID-19. He said the vulnerable and poor, parents and health workers are more susceptible to mental distress in this season.
Vincent Mujuni, whose organisation-Strongminds Uganda provides guidance and counseling services said that the number of those seeking services has shot up from receiving a thousand people to four thousand. Strong minds Uganda provided counseling through a toll-free line for counseling. Mujuni revealed that by July 5th July 2021 four thousand people had called in the space of five days.
Violet Alinda, Twaweza Uganda Country Lead and Director of Voice and Participation, said “COVID-19 intensifies all of our existing social and economic challenges while bringing a whole new set of worries about our health and well-being. We see more stress, more violence, and less food. We need to pay close attention to all Ugandans’ mental well-being during these very difficult times.”
COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Uganda, with 469 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 32% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on June 15. There have been 86,140 infections and 2,062 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began.