Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) in Uganda – Century & Rwenzori Bottling Companies, has continued its drive to improve hand wash and sanitation in public, high risk areas as a way of protecting the public against the spread of COVID-19.
In the effort, the Company has handed over 40 handwashing jerrycans to authorities in Buikwe District’s Najjembe, Namawojjolo, Ssenyi and Kiyinda areas, along the busy Jinja Road Highway.
This initiative is part of Coca-Cola’s commitment to support the Ministry of Health in the fight against COVID-19, with a focus on areas that are at high risk due to congestion and economic activity such as presented by cargo truck drivers coming in from other East African companies.
General Manager Melkamu Abebe, in a message delivered by Anita Natuha, Regional Trade Marketing Representative, reiterated the company’s commitment towards efforts aimed at limiting the spread of the disease and explained why the initiative is important to the company.
“Now more than ever, the responsibility falls on each of us to stay safe in these unprecedented times. With the lifting of the lockdown, the COVID-19 threat is very high and requires each of us to continue observing government guidelines to avoid a second lockdown. At Coca-Cola, the safety of our people comes first and we are a people-centered company which extends even to the communities we operate in. We believe that our business is as good as the community we operate in and that’s why we always seek meaningful ways to improve people’s lives,” he said.
The areas listed are high risk areas as travelers tend to make stopovers along the highway to purchase refreshments and for rest stops. , this poses a health risks for all people in the area. The Ministry of Health recently registered some cases in these areas.
“Buikwe District has had a number of COVID-19 positive cases since the pandemic began, and the number has intensified in the last couple of months. This donation will help target busy areas like Namawojjolo and Najjembe where many people tend to gather or stop,” said Buikwe District Health Officer Dr. Richard Bbosa.
Dr. Bbosa commended Coca-Cola Beverages Africa for the initiative and for placing focus on areas outside the city centre where the need is highest.
Uganda has registered 1,203 cases of COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began. Of those, 547 have been cargo truck drivers, most of whom transit through Buikwe District using Jinja Road, where Namawojjolo is a popular stop over point for meals. Buikwe District, on its own, has presented 44 COVID-19 cases and is classified as a “Red” area with an intense infection rate.
The WHO and the Ministry of Health of Uganda strongly recommend that people wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least twenty seconds every time, as an effective method to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.
“Let’s not ignore the guidelines that the government has issued, if we each play our part during this time, many lives will be saved. I thank Coca-Cola for taking on this initiative and more so for remembering Buikwe District as it is a supporter of the brand especially at these points of Najjembe,” remarked Mathias Kigongo, Chairman Buikwe Taskforce.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, CCBA has provided several interventions including; food relief worth UGX390million from The Coca-Cola Foundation, distributed through the Uganda Red Cross Society to vulnerable families affected by the lockdown; UGX85million to the Ministry of Health to buy medical equipment and sundries; public awareness worth UGX460million and three pick-up trucks for the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Task Force. So far the total contribution during this period is UGX1.3billion.
The company made a commitment to distribute 5,000 handwashing stations across the country and has so far set-up five (5) 5,000litre Community Handwashing Stations for the general public use in Mukono (Namanve), Kampala (Kyambogo) and Mbarara (Makenke and Municipality).