Tunabe Engalo, Hygiene Behavioral Change Coalition Phase 2 to benefit Kampala and Wakiso Districts

Targeting 6.5 million people in Uganda, the HBCC2 campaigns will focus on residents in Kampala and Wakiso districts and aimed at implementing activities toward mitigating the long-term effects of Covid-19 on Uganda’s public health.

Tunabe Engalo, Hygiene Behavioral Change Coalition Phase 2 to benefit Kampala and Wakiso Districts

Amref Health Africa Uganda in conjunction with other stakeholders recently launched the second phase of the Hygiene Behavioral Change Coalition (HBCC) to continue raising awareness of preventive and control measures against Covid-19.

Targeting 6.5 million people in Uganda, the HBCC2 campaigns will focus on residents in Kampala and Wakiso districts and aimed at implementing activities toward mitigating the long-term effects of Covid-19 on Uganda’s public health. Officiated by the British High Commissioner to the UK Kate Airey among other dignitaries, Amref Country Manager Uganda Dr. Patrick Karugusi said the campaign will focus on boosting awareness of vaccination, personal hygiene, and WASH programs.

Noting that Covid-19 is still active and here with us, he observed the Amref Africa- NBCC coalition, this initiative will not only support the local health sector but also “provided seed capital and up skilled people in key focus areas and to actualize this Dr. Karagusi called on likeminded partners to join the coalition and support the coalition’s agenda.

According to the implementing partners, this new campaign allows stakeholders to continue the fight while tackling fatigue around behavior change to reinvigorate public commitment with our innovative and engaging campaign and by doing so help strengthen health systems and WASH access, and spearhead institutionalization of hygiene and vaccine uptake in our national health agendas.

Meanwhile, Amref Uganda Country Manager Dr Patrick Kagurusi has urged people to make washing hands a subconscious habit because the benefits are immense.

“Handwashing should really be a habit that you don’t even need to think about,” said Kagurusi while at an event held to promote the Remember the Password Campaign at Onomo Hotel in Kampala.

The campaign is about amplifying efforts on washing hands, vaccination, spacing and wearing masks to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Amref is working with several organizations to boost personal hygiene, a fundamental in individual and community health.

While the efforts are geared towards fighting Covid-19, the behaviour is also important in preventing multiple other diseases, like Ebola, which as of October 9 had killed 17 people in Uganda, according to data from the health ministry.

Meanwhile, Ricky Papa Thompson the founder of SafeBoda says they remain committed to training and supporting boda boda riders fight the corona virus pandemic through continuously washing hands and constantly wearing masks.

Speaking at the same event, Prof. Myriam Sidibe, the founder of Brands on a Mission, who also chairs the National Business Compact on Coronavirus, underscored the “simple power of handwashing,” which she has given a TED Talk about.

Prof Sidibe, who has a Havard Ph.D. in handwashing, said they formed the Business Compact, which is operational in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, to rally private sector efforts toward boosting health systems.

She noted that looking at washing hands as an “important preventative behaviour” beyond covid is “critical”. "I think we need to take that very seriously... how to help people adapt… think beyond corona and how to make this critical,” she advised. “There is no public health without simple handwashing.”

The event was partly organised to rally for more partnerships and exchange ideas between different private sector entities that attended. Some companies showed that they are channeling their Corporate Social Responsibility funds to building health facilities, boosting awareness around behavioural change, and ensuring their staff are exemplary.

Prof Sidibe said they are looking for partners that will support in ramping up awareness, extension of health services to low-income populations, bolstering capacity development by strengthening health systems, and donation of health essentials like soap.

Amref and its partners are currently in the second phase of the Hygiene Behavioural Change Coalition (HBCC), which will run up to March 2023. The activities in this phase are aimed at increasing awareness of preventive and control measures against Covid-19. It is being implemented in Kampala and Wakiso which were the last to register active cases.

October 15 is Global Handwashing Day.

Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership as an opportunity to design and implement creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap, especially during critical times.

The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008. Since then, the community as well as national leaders and influencers have used this national holiday to spread awareness about the value of clean hands. It really is a valuable message, hand washing is such a simple practice, but it really can make all the difference and save lives.

Global Handwashing Day continues to grow. It’s endorsed by schools, governments, international institutions, private companies, civil society organizations, and more.