Contributions of refugees from Kyaka 2 Settlement in the fight against COVID-19 in their communities

Kyaka II Refugee Settlement is a refugee camp in Kyegegwa District in western Uganda.

Like almost everyone around the world, refugees were ill-prepared to deal with the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 represents a much more serious danger for refugees because it can spread exponentially in camps which are often crowded and have insufficiently developed health care systems. In addition, refugees living in Kyaka II often have limited economic means and due to the close proximity in which individuals and families live, it is difficult to socially distance based on already closely-confined spaces with spatial constraints.

Yet, refugees have engaged in innovative strategies to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

For example, faced with the shortage of handwashing kits in Kyaka settlement, refugees have attempted to help fill this gap by creating an Automatic Handwashing Machine.

The machine allows users to knock over a can of water for washing their hands using a stick as a foot pedal, which allows users to avoid touching surfaces and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Overall, strict COVID-19 regulations have affected the Ugandan economy and the incomes of individuals, including those living in refugee camps. For example, people are producing plants and agriculture but the markets are empty.

Therefore, and based on the economic, social, cultural and political ramifications COVID-19 has had not only in Uganda and around the world, we ask the Ethiopians and all African actors in conflict to take immediate action in favor of a ceasefire. This is a necessary call because there is no greater adversary for humanity today that is as daunting as COVID-19. This adversary, blind to all the differences that divide us, devastates us without discernment.

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