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Uganda Will Get Covid Vaccine In April, But Museveni Isn’t Happy

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has chastised Africans for always living under what he called a ‘slave mentality’ and a dependency syndrome

Uganda submitted a request for sufficient vaccines to inoculate 9 million people as it scales up its coronavirus response with increased testing and additional intensive care beds.

The request has been approved and the shots should arrive in April or May, according to a government statement on Thursday, which didn’t provide details on the provenance of the vaccines.

People aged 50 or above and those with underlying health conditions will get priority.

Earlier this month, the East African nation said it expected vaccines from the Covax program and that it was seeking more from AstraZeneca Plc.

Cases nationwide have jumped 24% from December, with the capital, Kampala, accounting for 48% of all infections and deaths.

The government plans to borrow $31.6 million from the African Development Fund to add laboratories, testing centers and protective equipment, and mitigate the impact of the pandemic, according to the statement.

Relatedly, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has chastised Africans for always living under what he called a ‘slave mentality’ and a dependency syndrome of always waiting to be saved by Europeans whenever they are faced with a challenge instead of finding the solution themselves.

While launching the clinical trial of the homegrown Covid-19 treatment drug, UBV-01N, a product of the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute believed to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and immunological properties and abilities, Museveni said at times he gets infuriated by the lack of self-belief of Africans.

“We shall not accept dependency. You must build an independent Uganda. We are working on the vaccine and treatment by ourselves,” Museveni said at Mulago national referral hospital.

“I don’t know what is the problem with Africans … they are dying and they are waiting for Europeans to save them. If the Europeans don’t get the vaccine, we shall die and get finished, he said.

“I really feel infuriated when I see Africans sitting here waiting to die if the Europeans don’t find a solution,” added Museveni.

The UBV-01N drug will be administered to 128 male and female patients who present Covid-19 symptoms at the Mulago National Referral Hospital.

The drug has been developed through a research by Makerere University School of Public Health, Makerere University Lung Institute, and Mulago hospital.

Dr Bruce Kirenga, the director Makerere University Lung Institute who is the senior clinical trial physician said assessing the efficacy of the UBV–01N drug started with trials on animals. He said they are randomly enrolling patients being treated for Covid-19 at Mulago hospital who will either be given an active drug or a placebo. Later he said, they will start testing the drug on patients being treated at other facilities across the country.

Once given the drug, Kirenga says that the patients of different disease severity will be tested to see if the product is present in their blood. Already, Uganda has concluded two other Covid-19 treatment trials where they were testing the efficacy of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine and another.