Community Perceptions in Uganda of COVID-19 - Bulletin 2 (September 2020)

Kamei, K,
Publication language
Date published
01 Sep 2020
Research, reports and studies
Accountability and Participation, Accountability to affected populations (AAP), Comms, media & information, Complaints and feedback mechanisms, COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Forced displacement and migration, Refugee Camps, Health, Protection, human rights & security

When the Covid-19 virus first appeared in East Africa this March, the Ugandan government moved swiftly to slow its spread by imposing a nationwide shutdown and closing Uganda’s borders to all new refugees and asylum seekers fleeing regional conflict and civil war.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) which has been providing family tents, water tanks, health screening areas, toilets, and handwashing facilities, as of late July there were 1,124 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Uganda; among those, 52 were refugees. UNHCR says all patients have since recovered. Ugandan and UN officials now are seeking to deal with the secondary effects of the pandemic; economic hardship, the inability to earn money, reduced food rations, an increase in alcoholism, and instances of sexual and gender-based violence during the Covid-19 lockdown. These issues, reports the UNHCR, have led to deterioration in social relations among refugees and have strained relations with the Ugandan host community.

To find out what sort of information about Covid-19 was getting through to refugees in the settlements as well as behaviours, trust, and the socio- economic impact of the virus, in late June Ground Truth Solutions (GTS) conducted a second round of phone interviews in Kiswahili and English with 101 community leaders from the ten most populous settlements of South Sudanese and Congolese refugees in Uganda. Collectively, these settlements constitute 92 percent of the country’s total refugee population.

Ground Truth Solutions