Although Uganda has not registered any deaths, the 220 confirmed Covid19 cases and Uganda today indicate that more effort is required for Uganda to flatten her coronavirus curve. And one thing remains clear; that the only way to fight the lethal disease is “Together”.
It is against this background that corporate companies have joined hands with government to collectively combat the crisis.
Since the country went into an indefinite lockdown towards the end of March, companies have continuously donated both food and cash to he help meet the needs of those who have been denied an opportunity to earn a living due to the limitations imposed by the effort to curb the spread of the lethal coronavirus.
While these philanthropic efforts are critical, the fight against the deadly virus goes beyond overt donations. It is also about how companies are using their services, infrastructure, products, equipment, and expertise to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and help their employees, customers and the general public get through this crisis.
MTN Uganda, for instance, has contributed about sh2b to the COVID19 effort. About half of it was in hard cash, the rest is in kind, in form of media space towards the ministry of health, help to National Water & Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to provide water stands in water stressed areas of Kampala, and support to the Uganda Red Cross as well as a call center at the disposal of the health ministry.
At the onset of the COVID19 crisis in Uganda, the Telecom allocated media space worth shs316million to the ministry of Health to run the much needed COVID19 communication across different media. On the same day that announcement was made, MTN removed fees for sending any amount of money using MTN Mobile Money so as to enable its customers send money to ease cashless transactions during these difficult times, at no extra cost.
To facilitate a free flow of information, MTN zero-rated the Ministry of health website to enable people get timely information without the need for data. As schools remained closed, the telecom also zero rated a number of educational websites to enable learning to continue while the school-going children are at home. Most recently, the company zero rated its university education websites, making it possible for university students in the seven major universities across the country to access their study material at ‘zero MBs”.
As the country started registering cases of COVID19, MTN set up a fully equipped call center at the MTN Head offices to support the Ministry of health work force in terms of receiving calls from members of the public seeking referrals and those seeking general information about the deadly coronavirus.
To support the movement of both logistics and members of the Covid19 Task Force as it spearheads the country’s fight against the pandemic, MTN recently donated three brand new Nissan Hard Body pick-ups to the Office of the Prime Minister.
In a bid to promote hand washing and hygiene as one of the ways to prevent the spread of the fatal coronavirus, MTN provided another Shs.220million to National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to provide relief to the masses of people living in water stressed parts in and around Kampala. This is because water is especially important in the COVID19 fight as hand washing is very critical.
MTN also provided another Shs.294million to the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) for surveillance, screening, psychological support in the high risk areas and border points across the country.
Additionally, the telecom provided a money collection point under its MoMoPay platform where MTN customers donated towards the URCS efforts in fighting the COVID19 pandemic. A total of 21.9 million was collected from MTN customers and was handed over to URCS. Moving forward, the money collected by MTN customers on this platform shall go to the National Covid19 Task Force to further aid in the fight against the devastating COVID19 crisis.
While it is not clear when this crisis will end, MTN Uganda remains committed to fighting the Covid19 pandemic together with the government of Uganda. MTN Uganda will continue to look at ways of supporting the government and communities, to fight Coronavirus Together.