Uganda, an emerging East African country that is home to a large Indian diaspora, has lauded India’s timely supply of medical supplies to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic and termed it “an eloquent testimony to India-Uganda friendship and India-Africa solidarity.”
Days after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had a telephonic conversation, Uganda’s High Commissioner to India Grace Akello said that 300,000 tablets of Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug to combat COVID-19, from India are on their way to the East African country.“ The Government of India has made arrangements to deliver in the quickest way possible 300,000 tablets of Hydroxychloroquine. This will be delivered to Norvatis, a pharmaceutical company in Uganda, for onward transfer to the Ministry of Health,” Uganda’s envoy told India Writes Network in an interview.
“Uganda has also put in a request for ingredients in order to be able to manufacture the drug locally,” she said.“The supply of these badly needed medicines to Uganda is eloquent testimony to the warm and fraternal relations between the two countries. It also speaks volumes on the India-Africa solidarity,” said the envoy.Demonstrating close cooperation between India and Uganda, the leaders of India had shared views on the anti-COVID-19 efforts being made in their countries on April 9. In this telephonic conversation, the two leaders had expressed hope of an early victory against the virus.
In his telephonic talks, PM Modi also thanked the Ugandan President for the goodwill and care the country extends to the Indian diaspora. “There are striking similarities in the way India and Uganda have approached the coronavirus pandemic. President Museveni has a great admiration for India and the Indian community in Uganda,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and India and the World magazine.“PM Modi’s exhortation to light lamps for 9 minutes at 9 pm on April 5 struck an emotional chord in Uganda. Similarly, in Uganda, President Museveni used innovative methods to build public awareness against COVID-19,” said Chand, an expert on India-Africa relations.
India and Uganda were among the countries that instituted an early lockdown in response to the scale of the spread of the virus, said the Ugandan envoy. “Both countries locked their borders, barring any travel into and out of the country. Before closing their airports, both countries had put in place stringent COVID-19 testing of air travelers. Thanks to these measures, they were able to identify, quarantine, and treat the infected people.”
In Uganda, the closure of its border and the vigorous testing of the people for the virus enabled the government to identify the hotspots and launch preventive measures, the Ugandan Embassy said in a statement .Another vital step taken by both countries was the mounting of relentless high-profile COVID-19 awareness. In Uganda, President Museveni called other top leaders for special prayer at State House. To ensure that the message reached the whole population, President Museveni gave three media addresses in one week at the start of the campaign, the embassy said. He called for all media houses to devote daily to warn the population of the danger; urging them to take all measures to fight it, said the embassy.
(Sanjeeb Baruah contributed inputs for this article; edited by Shweta Aggarwal)
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