UGANDA – Absa bank, a leading financial institution in Uganda and beyond, has donated 160 medical oxygen cylinders to the health ministry, rallying behind the nations fight against COVID-19.

According to the Managing Director Absa bank, the donated cylinders will be distributed in 4 Regional Referral Hospitals (RRH), where each hospital will receive 40 medical oxygen cylinders.

The bank has been a key partner in fighting coronavirus in the East African country. At the beginning of the pandemic, Absa bank Uganda donated PPEs for health workers together with a number of test kits to ramp up C0VID-19 screening.

While receiving the donation, the Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Acheng, appreciated the heightened demand for oxygen in her country, despite the recent decline in daily reported cases.

While numbers are now going down the severe and critically ill continue to be admitted and therefore the need for oxygen will definitely continue,” Dr Acheng said.

Mr. Mumba Kalifungwa, Managing Director Absa Uganda, said, “We believe this will go a long way to help in meeting the demand for medicals oxygen. It is therefore crucial that, as private sector we work hand in hand with government to ensure that we strengthen our national health response to the pandemic.”

The donation by Absa comes after Nile breweries, the leading beer manufacturer in Uganda, donated 300 oxygen cylinders in the same light.

“This pandemic has shown us that the only way to build a better tomorrow is by working together. We have seen globally how stakeholders have come together to collaborate for the greater good,” Onapito Ekomoloit, Director at Nile Breweries, said.

Additionally, Uganda receive over 5 billion shillings from the Danish Government to go toward procurement and supply of oxygen cylinders. This was shortly after the UK had donated US$708,000 in response to a plea by Uganda for oxygen support.

The East Africa country is among countries in the continent to have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

In June, the president initiated a lockdown following a threating trend of infections. The country had recorded 42 Covid-related deaths and 1,000 new infections at the time.

WHO reported that Uganda was among three other African nations reporting highest levels of new weekly cases since the pandemic began.

Yesterday, President Yoweri Museveni partially eased the tight lockdown imposed 42 days ago to help stem a raging second wave of COVID-19, including re-opening some markets and shopping centres in towns.

Up to now, Uganda has recorded a total of 93,675 novel coronavirus cases and 2,661 deaths. So far only about 1.1 million Ugandans have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose, all from donated shipments.

Officials have said the delay in procuring vaccines is because poor countries such as Uganda have been priced out of the market by rich buyers in the West.

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