74% of Ugandans Think COVID-19 Money is Stolen by Powerful People

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The people surveyed expressed fear that money for COVID-19 response would end up with what they call 'powerful people' and would never get to the intended beneficiaries.
03 Nov 2020 19:01

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While 'only' three quarters of the Ugandans do not trust the government's to handle funds for relieving the covid-19 pandemic, an overwhelming majority - 81% -actually believe the low quality of health care in the country is simply a result of corruption.

These are findings of the government's own Uganda Bureau of Statistics, UBOS.

A UBOS survey supported by the World Bank has found that three quarters of the Ugandans do not trust the government’s distribution channels for covid-19 relief to get to them. The people surveyed expressed fear that money for COVID-19 response would end up with what they call 'powerful people' and would never get to the intended beneficiaries.

UBOS and the World Bank carried out a second survey on the effects of the pandemic on Ugandans between July and August, following one which had been done in May and June.  The survey featuring about 2,400 respondents was carried from around the country was aimed at informing the policy makers on handle to handle the pandemic and the post-pandemic effects on the public. A little more that 4 out of 5 people, or 81% of those surveyed agreed that corruption had lowered the quality of medical supplies and care. 

In April, after the first cases were recorded in Uganda, many private and corporate Ugandans donated money, food, cars and other items to help the government handle the outbreak, and by the end of May, at least 28 billion shillings had been received by the National Covid-19 Response Fund.

The government launched a food distribution campaign amidst calls by some sections of leaders, for the government to instead distribute cash to needy Ugandans.

The US government through its embassy in Kampala offered to give what they called the most vulnerable Ugandans shs 100,000 per month for three months, but this was called off after the responsible NGO, Give Directly, went under scrutiny by the NGO Bureau.

However, from the survey, most Ugandans were worried that cash donations would end up being captured by the powerful. 

Meanwhile, almost half of those interviewed, in the Uganda High-Frequency Phone Survey on COVID-19 (UHFPS) said they were finding it hard to access essential prevention and control items like soap, medicines and medical care. However, one in 10 people would have wanted to see a doctor, but could not afford. 

And on maintaining guidelines like washing hands and wearing masks, there was a major concern that many are not bothered about this, with most culprits being those with less formal education , according to UBOS Senior Statistician, Henry Mubiru, who led the survey. 

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Many Uganda are also reluctant to go for testing even when they have signs and symptoms that may be related to Covid-19, according to the study. 

Mubiru says that many people presented with a fever, but this hardly made them seek a covid-19 test despite being one of the first major signs, while most of those who went to test, suffered signs like breathing problems and muscle pain.


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