MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit donates life-saving PPE to COVID-19 taskforce

Researchers at the Unit are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response in Uganda
Dr. Freddie Kibengo (L), Head of the Unit station at Masaka hands over an assortment of PPE to Mr. Asporo Taremwa, Deputy Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Masaka City and a member of the Masaka District COVID-19 taskforce.

The Medical Research Institute/ Uganda Virus Research Institute and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (MRC/UVRI and LSHTM) Uganda Research Unit has donated vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to support medical teams working on the COVID-19 response.

Valued at about 47 million UGX (£8,500), the donation to the Masaka District COVID-19 taskforce  includes thermometers, masks, sanitisers, gum boots, face shields, aprons, body bags, oximeters and gloves to help keep healthcare providers as safe as possible.

Speaking on behalf of the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Dr Freddie Mukasa Kibengo, the Head of MRC Masaka field station, said: “We appreciate the challenge of limited PPE throughout the country, and the subsequent risk of exposure to COVID-19 for healthcare providers. Our donation therefore, is to contribute towards providing a safe work environment for healthcare providers in Masaka and consequently improved care for COVID-19 patients.”

He commended the support given to the Unit by the Masaka District local government, adding: “Masaka district local government has been a major stakeholder for the Unit since our establishment here in 1988 and we attribute the success of our research activities to the strong relationship between the two institutions. We commit to continued support and collaboration with the District.” 

Researchers at the Unit are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response in Uganda. The Unit has contributed £2.7 million towards Uganda’s COVID-19 response, specifically, diagnostic testing, sequencing, clinical support and community based surveillance to support and assess the wider impact of infection and pandemic mitigation strategies.

Using multidisciplinary research platforms, Unit researchers are conducting community-based surveillance of strategically chosen study populations in Lukaya town (a truck-stop on the trans-African Highway, at higher risk for COVID-19 transmissions) and the adjacent sub county of Kyamulibwa (the site for the Unit’s rural General Population Cohort.

The research will provide data on the pandemic in high risk and general populations, which will be a foundation for answering critical scientific questions relating to the pandemic, including transmission dynamics, burden and distribution of infection. This will provide a platform for local researchers to contribute to COVID-19 knowledge both locally and internationally.

COVID-19 is presenting Uganda with immense challenges. The MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit plays a key role in the national response to COVID-19. The Unit’s donation comes as we are also urgently fundraising to provide Entebbe Hospital with equipment.

This includes:

  • 100 beds and accessories for the new isolation Unit
  • 30 oxygen cylinders
  • An oxygen filling plant to increase capacity of and resilience of oxygen supply

Please help save lives in Uganda by giving to our COVID-19 Response Fund today.


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