The UK Government through its international development agency, The Department for International Development (DFID), has provided one million pounds (about five billion Uganda Shillings) to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support its emergency preparedness and response to children affected by the ongoing El Nino in Uganda.
Following the recent heavy and continuous rains across the country, many districts have been affected by flooding and water logging, exposing children and women to a greater risk of disease outbreaks such as cholera, malaria, diarrhea, and typhoid, among others.
Floods caused by El Nino rains in Uganda
“This contribution will immediately help to reduce the damaging impact of the heavy rains on children in many parts of the country,” said Mrs. Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda. “We are extremely grateful to the people of the United Kingdom for their ongoing support to help the most vulnerable children across Uganda survive.”
The support will benefit children and women from the 32 highly affected Districts of Bududa, Bulambuli, Manafwa, Sironko, Butaleja, Kasese, Ntoroko, Amolatar, Amuria, Katakwi, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Kaberamaido, Otuke, Moyo, Kampala, Mbale, Tororo, Kapchorwa, Bukwo, Kween, Budibugyo, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Amudat, Kisoro, Kabale, Rukungiri, Kanungu, Ntungamo and Kabarole. Speaking of the support, Jennie Barugh, Head of DFID Uganda, noted that “This funding from the United Kingdom will ensure that UNICEF can reach the children and families who are most in need.
It will allow them to gain vital access to basic health services and clean and safe water, which will help save lives.” Working closely with the Office of the Prime Minister, line ministries, local government and partners, UNICEF’s emergency response to El-Nino affected populations includes:
the provision of clean and safe water and promotion of proper sanitation and hygiene practices to prevent diseases like cholera;
the prevention of malaria through the provision of insecticide-treated mosquito nets;
supporting infant and young child feeding (ICYF) counselling services as well as health and nutrition education sessions; management of cases of acute malnutrition and;
support to emergency education and child protection services, like identifying and reunifying children separated from their families.
The DFID support will enable the procurement of life-saving supplies such as:
water purification tablets, storage and hand-washing tanks;
therapeutic foods; health kits with essential drugs;
long-lasting insecticide treated nets;
and scholastic materials, among others.
The support will also ensure robust social mobilization through radio programmes and house-to-house awareness campaigns on good child health and family care practices.
In order to keep affected children alive, safe and learning, UNICEF and its partners are collaborating with the Office of the Prime Minister to support early warning of disaster events such as flooding and landslides as well as early response action.
UNICEF is supporting preparedness for early reaction through the early procurement of stocks and supplies as well as preparing teams to conduct rapid assessments at the onset of a disaster.