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We are still challenged by resources and the mechanism we use- Uganda Red Cross SG.

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Whereas Dr. Aissa Fall of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cross Societies Africa commended the Uganda Red Cross for its readiness in handling epidemics, Secretary General Robert Kwesiga noted that they are still challenged by procuring the tools used in such emergencies.

“Human resource is not our challenge now, but rather the money for preparedness and procuring all that is needed plus the mechanism to ensure that the tools are where they are supposed to be on time” he explained.

This meeting was intended to develop a collective roadmap for cross-border collaboration on epidemic preparedness, Mr. Kwesiga used this space to call upon International Agencies to change the mindset of some global tools as this will help to create a big difference in the way they execute their duties.

According to Kwesiga, these agencies like the UN and the Red Cross have the same prescription in any emergency outbreak yet every emergency comes along with different dynamics.

“Some of us like Uganda don’t need experts in an awake of an emergency, but rather resources that can help us have all that it takes to overcome this emergency” he asserted.

“Let’s also localize these tools at local institutions and at a country level, for example in our last incident in Tanzania, our volunteers blended quickly with the locals because the team knew what a typical village is, In the long run, the work was easy, this to me someone from Europe couldn’t easily execute it” Kwesiga added.

The Secretary-General made these remarks on day 2 of the Cross-border collaboration meeting on epidemics preparedness and response held in Kampala On resource allocation, the Secretary-General urged governments to improve these allocations, to desist from injecting money when disasters happen but rather invest heavily in preparedness and mitigation.

In his presentation, Naphtal Baguma the director of supply chain and procurement at the Uganda Red Cross highlighted that there is still a big challenge in importing some of the humanitarian goods donated by their partners which sometimes hinders their work in responding to
emergencies across the country.

Since the Ugandan Government introduced the Export Verification of Conformity certificate on all goods exported in the form of humanitarian aid, Baguma noted that it’s not only costly but also causes delays.

“The items we have received so far without this certificate haven’t been cleared by UNBS and NDA and this has greatly affected the operations of response” he explained.

Baguma appealed to the government to amend this system, especially on items of humanitarian response because they are not for profit but rather to help in different disasters and responses across the country.

On his turn, Sekadde Richard the logistics manager suggested that if all partners come together and engage the authorities, the Uganda Red Cross will overcome the challenges of pivot limitations because whatever consignment comes into the country is tagged by UNBS.

Upon closure of this meeting, National Societies agreed to form a technical working group which will be led by heads of health departments from each society, identify and create linkage with regional health coordination mechanisms, develop SOPs, collaborate with regional capacity building initiatives of WHO, AFCDC, and EAC amongst others

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