The National Medical Stores (NMS) has Tuesday afternoon received COVID-19 health supplies which were donated to Uganda by France. The items include one million FFP2 face masks, 54,000 testing kits and nine respirators. The donation valued at Shs 10.8bn was handed over to Uganda at a ceremony held at NMS
headquarters in Entebbe in the presence of the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, Health Minister Dr. Ruth Aceng, French ambassador to Uganda, Jules-Armand Aniambossou, State Ministers of Health, NMS Board member Dr Christine Ondoa, the Dr Diana Atwiine the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and the NMS General Manager, MosesKamabare.’

According to Dr Diana Atwiine the Permanent Secretary in the Ministrty of Health, ‘‘the Ugandan government spent UGshs 368 million on the shipment of the consignment from France to Uganda’’ Nabbanja thanked the government of France for the generous donation of items which will help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister called for more international solidarity, especially in accessing COVID-19 vaccines, saying that the fight covid-19 is one that can only be won when the international community acts collectively and in solidarity.

‘‘This contribution is further testimony of the long standing solidarity between the French people and the people of Uganda’’, she declared, adding that France has ably demonstrated her friendship with Uganda in many ways and consistently over the years. On his part, H.E Aniambossou applauded Uganda’s effort in the fight against COVID19 and reaffirmed the French government’s solidarity with the government of Uganda “We appreciate Uganda’s exemplary efforts in the fight against the pandemic. France will alwaysstand in solidarity with Uganda in the common struggle’’, he said.

Nabbanja thanked National Medical Stores for supporting the National Response to the COVID19 pandemic by receiving and warehousing PPEs, Test Kits, and other response supplies from and on behalf of the government of Uganda and adequately distributing them to points of entry and hospitals across the country.

NMS has a modern 7,200 square Metre warehouse at Entebbe (present location) which is used for the orderly receipt, storage and packing of medical supplies destined to public health facilities across Uganda.

NMS mandate is to procure, store and deliver drugs mainly to public health facilities. The institution has in the last few months been storing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines across Uganda.

This is in addition to the regular distribution of essential medicines and health supplies. Health Minister Dr Ruth Aceng said France’s donation was a much-needed boost to our response in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. She added: Not so long ago, on 17 June,2021 I was here at NMS with the French Ambassador
receiving 175,200 doses of AZ vaccines donated by the French Government under the dose

sharing arrangement through COVAX Facility. That support came in handy and helped the Government of Uganda towards ensuring that we vaccinate the Ugandan population. Aceng said the donation of masks, testing kits and respirators will be deployed in various health facilities involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic ‘Accountability for these supplies is very important for us but we also understand that it is in your interest that the supplies are used for the intended purpose’’ said Aceng.

The Prime Minister called for more international solidarity, especially in accessing Covid 19 vaccines, saying that the fight against Covid 19 is one that can only be won when the international community acts collectively and in solidarity. “No one can be safe unless everyone is safe, because the world is now very connected through trade, travel and tourism. This Covid 19 has shown us that the pandemic doesn’t know or respect national boundaries’’, said Nabbanja. ‘But we continue to see a disparity in access to vaccines with developed countries vaccinating their people while developing countries are struggling to get vaccines’’ Nabbanja said the COVID-19 cases are reducing slightly, urging the public to continue to wash hands with soap, avoiding crowds, keeping a distance and lining up for vaccination when your turn comes.

Results of COVID-19 tests done on 25 July 2021 confirmed 71 new cases, with the test positivity rate dropping to 6.6 percent, according to the Ministry of Health. The cumulative confirmed cases are now 92,795. The Ambassador of France said that the donation was a gesture of solidarity towards a friendly country in the fight against a common enemy. He reaffirmed the commitment of his government to continue standing in solidarity with Uganda in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

NMS will distribute the donated items to respective public health facilities upon receiving dispatch instructions from the Ministry of Health. Since the outbreak, France has donated over 50,000 litres of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to UPDF, 15,000 euros to support the development of simple, rapid, low-cost Covid-19 diagnostic tests by Makerere University school of public health, and the recent 175,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines that came through the Covax facility.

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