CSO PLEDGE TO SUPPORT COVID VACCINATION IN UGANDA, ADVOCATE FOR VACCINES EQUITY

Over 30 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Uganda are joining efforts to accelerate Covid-19 vaccine uptake and advocacy to end vaccine inequity.

This is part of the outcomes of a four days (25th - 28th April) capacity-building workshop on Covid Vaccination and vaccines science organized by HEPS Uganda and Global Health Collaborative under the Advocacy to Accelerate Access to COVID-19 Vaccines in Uganda (VAX Uganda) project.

The project involves a series of activities based in Uganda to catalyze urgent action toward COVID-19 vaccine equity.   

The project aims to achieve increased civil society's capacity to advocate for an end to COVID-19 vaccine nationalism, increased funding by national and international stakeholders for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics in Uganda, accelerated implementation of proposed waivers for intellectual property rights of COVID-19 technologies, and engagement in technology transfer and improved population awareness of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and safety.

The workshop was facilitated by officials from the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and Intellectual property experts, among others.

While opening the workshop, Kenneth Mwehonge, the HEPS-Uganda Executive Director, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic is not about to end and this calls for a robust and sustained fight to save lives. He explained that vaccination - which is the best way to safeguard the population against Covid-19 has been hindered by factors like inequitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccine hesitancy mainly driven by misinformation and disinformation as well as health system challenges, especially in developing countries.

Part of the way forward, CSOs agreed to continue engaging and working together under the VAX Uganda coalition to advocate for Covid vaccines equity, scale-up community sensitization on Covid-19 vaccines safety and effectiveness, mobilize Ugandans to embrace Covid vaccination, advocate for accountability of Covid vaccines and response funds as well as advocate for increased funding for the health sector for a stronger health care system.