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Sweden, UNICEF Sign UGX 67Bn Agreement to Boost Covid-19 Vaccination

Dr Munir Safieldin says that the new funding from the Swedish Embassy is to partly support the Government of Uganda-UNICEF Country Programme 2021-2025 worth US Dollars 400 million which was developed with the main objective of realizing the rights of children.
Maria Håkansson, the Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda and the UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Dr. Munir Safieldin display the signed agreement.

Audio 4

The Embassy of Sweden and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have signed an agreement of 67 Billion Shillings to boost the Covid-19 vaccination in Uganda.

Maria Håkansson, the Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda and the UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Dr Munir Safieldin signed the agreement on Thursday at the UNICEF offices in Kampala.

According to Hakansson, the funding comes at a critical time in Uganda’s fight against Covid-19. The funding will in the short term enable UNICEF to play a critical role in the government accelerated mass vaccination campaign, help prevent the expiry of millions of doses of vaccine and contribute to the safe reopening of schools.

“The opening of schools is critical not only for the continuity of learning but also for the prevention of and stop the current dramatic increase in teenage pregnancies which is closely linked to young girls not being in school,” said Ambassador Håkansson.

Dr Munir Safieldin says that the new funding from the Swedish Embassy is to partly support the Government of Uganda-UNICEF Country Programme 2021-2025 worth US Dollars 400million which was developed with the main objective of realizing the rights of children.

He noted that this new Swedish funding is to be allocated during the full five years of the Programme and special emphasis will be on the four critical government priorities which include Covid-19 vaccination, continuity of learning and safe re-opening of schools, fighting teenage pregnancy and under-nutrition in children.

Munir says that the funding will build on the gains made for children and support the country to build back better.

Asked to explain the specific intervention towards school re-opening, the UNICEF Country Representative says that they will support the Ministry of Education to ensure that the three batches or generations of children joining grade one are ably accommodated in schools regarding improving physical space and training of teachers regarding the revised curriculum and other activities.

//Cue in: “a lot of improvement…

Cue out:…hand washing facilities.”//

On teenage pregnancies, Munir says that they need to work together with the government to ensure that children are not only safe in schools but also homes.

//Cue in: “so the campaign…

Cue out:…the teenage mothers.”//

Ambassador Håkansson also explained that besides teenage pregnancies, they also note the increased child marriages hence the need to support the Covid-19 vaccination process to facilitate the speedy re-opening of schools so that children go back to school.

//Cue in: “when it comes…

Cue out:…girls and children.”//

A recent report by Twaweza indicated that nearly 80% of Ugandans are worried about the rate of teenage pregnancy as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

The findings of the survey indicate that 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 got worse.

Sweden is one of the largest bilateral donors to Uganda within health, with a specific focus on maternal, child and adolescent health.  Their annual contributions average some in US Dollars 29 million.

The Embassy has since 2013 been supporting the joint work undertaken by UNICEF Uganda and the Government of Uganda, most recently in the areas of maternal and newborn health, adolescent health, HIV/AIDs, and building health systems that facilitate the delivery of services.