by Dr. Gregory Bartha
February 10, 2022
Conditions have significantly deteriorated in Uganda in the past 2 years largely because of the COVID pandemic. No one knows how many people have died as a result of the disease since testing is very limited, and very sick people usually die at home. There is no easy access to high level hospital care. Most of the deaths are in the elderly and in the chronically ill.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the education and business sectors. Most schools have just recently reopened, so students have missed about two years of education and training. Many girls have become pregnant and will probably never return to school. Most of the primary and secondary schools are privately run, and many are closing. Parents cannot afford the tuition, and school operators cannot afford to pay teachers’ salaries or purchase supplies. The government schools are generally very poorly equipped, and even they charge the students some fees.
Many small businesses have closed because there is no money to pay rent or purchase supplies. To add to the problems, there is an ongoing drought. Most people are struggling to get adequate food. Malnutrition is a growing problem. Fuel prices have risen sharply. Gasoline used to cost a little more than one dollar a liter. Now the price is about $1.80 a liter which is equivalent to slightly more than seven dollars a gallon.
The Ugandan government has done little to address these problems. The only food relief is going to the Karamoja region in the extreme northeastern part of the country. The rest of the country gets little or no aid. Parliament members and other officials rarely travel outside of the capital city Kampala and do not investigate the conditions in the rural areas.
All in all, the level of poverty has greatly increased. It may take years to repair the damage. Most likely conditions will continue to deteriorate. The Cross Clinic and other projects I support continue to operate and serve the people, but only a small number can be helped. We will continue our efforts. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.
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