When it comes to health policy advocacy, community empowerment, and sensitization on health rights and responsibilities, very few Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) come closer to Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS Uganda).
The organization has done many projects countrywide, including advocacy, and community mobilization to increase awareness on Covid-19 and Covid-19 vaccination recently.
The latest information from the global circles reaching this publication indicates that HEPS has been selected among 21 global CSOs to benefit from a multimillion-dollar project funded by FIND and Unitaid. The two are among the top internationally recognized organizations supporting different health initiatives globally.
FIND is a global alliance for diagnostics that seeks to ensure equitable access to reliable diagnosis around the world while Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply, and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries.
This publication understands that the two organizations are investing two million USD in a coordinated advocacy programme spanning 19 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) designed to boost access and uptake of COVID-19 tests and treatments.
A total of 21 organizations were selected globally with HEPS the only one from Uganda.
One CSO from each of Rwanda, DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Sudan completes the list of awardees from the East African Community.
According to FIND and Unitaid, under the project, HEPS will among others do a COVID-19 testing landscape assessment focusing on financing, procurement, and supply chain for COVID-19 diagnostics, assess public awareness of tools, and attitudes around COVID testing, treatment, and vaccination. Also, the organization will spearhead coalition-based advocacy to promote a test and protect approach to COVID.
In a statement on the organisation website, Kenneth Mwehonge, the HEPS Executive Director says this is a timely project in Uganda and in different other countries. “We are observing worrying trends of increasing Covid-19 positive cases in different countries, especially in the global south including Uganda. Unfortunately, global south countries are also performing below average in vaccine uptake and testing. Covid vaccines are safe and an effective way to save millions of people, but we must get as many people as possible vaccinated,” his statement reads in part.
Mbarara News Comment
Such support and work is a timely boost in Uganda’s fight and response to the pandemic. Uganda’s Covid testing rate remains too low and this most likely has an implication on how many positive cases are reported daily so that they are treated.
Testing is part of Covid cases management and must be emphasized and scaled up. It remains to be seen if the country has enough testing kits to test many people daily but this should be the top target now.