Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda has handed over its contribution of UGX1.3billion (One Billion, Three Hundred Million Shillings) with three brand new pick-up trucks added to the Ministry of Health COVID-19 fleet.
Prime Minister and Chair of the National Task Force for COVID-19, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, welcomed the contribution and commended Coca-Cola for being a long-standing partner with the government in health causes.
“We are grateful for your support. Coca-Cola has been a long-standing partner with us in many ways. This is further evidence that we stand together. Let’s continue the fight against COVID-19 together,” said Ruhakana Rugunda.
Conrad van Niekerk, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Regional Managing Director in charge of Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana, stressed that the company contributions were only the first phase of the effort against COVID-19 in Uganda.
“At Coca-Cola Beverages Africa we always look for meaningful ways in which we can contribute to the local communities we serve, whether by partnering with stakeholders such as the government and NGOs or engaging in wider community causes. Our company purpose: ‘refresh the world and make a difference in the community’ is the guiding principle that drives our community outreach activities,” he said.
“Since the outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Uganda, we have been working with the Ministry of Health to support and implement measures to curb its spread.
“We believe in sustainability – of business and the communities in which we operate. This is an operating ethos that we carry throughout our business every single day.
“As Coca-Cola, we have carried out different interventions. Apart from taking care of our staff, we have been working with different partners to support our communities in various ways,” he added.
On receiving the vehicles, Minister in charge of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut emphasized that the contribution would go a long way in enabling the frontline staff to further transverse the country providing assistance and monitoring the spread of the virus.
“We are grateful to Coca-Cola for always prioritizing the wellbeing of Ugandans in the different communities across the country. A pandemic like this one calls for public-private partnerships and we have found Coca-Cola to be a reliable partner,” she said.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwine, thanked the company for the wide range of support provided to the ministry in the fight against COVID-19, including handwashing support and public awareness.
“Your contributions will help us sink the message deep into the farthest corners of Uganda, among all the people. The catchphrase you have chosen of #StaySafeUG is very important in all our messaging, and you have truly gotten involved in this struggle through handwashing and publicity,” she said.
The Coca-Cola contribution towards curbing the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda included a consignment of food relief worth UGX390million from The Coca-Cola Foundation, distributed through the Uganda Red Cross Society to vulnerable families affected by the lockdown. The company also donated Ush85million to the Ministry of Health to buy medical equipment and sundries.
Alongside the Ministry of Health, CCBA is currently running a handwashing intervention that involves setting up Handwashing facilities to increase public hygiene. So far, the company has erected four (4) 5,000litre Community Handwashing Tanks in Namanve, Kyambogo and Mbarara Central Market.
The company went further to manufacture Hand Sanitizer that is being distributed free of charge to select segments of society across the country, including those involved in fast-moving consumer goods wholesale and retail trading.
“We are very happy to make this contribution while working closely with different government entities in the fight against COVID-19 for the greater good. When all this passes, all that will be left will be our people, so we have to stand strong together,” van Niekerk reiterated.
Present at the handover ceremony were COVID-19 Task Force members Kishor Jobanputra, Gustavo Bwoch and Coordinator Dorothy Kisaka.