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Uganda Covid 19 success story; Is it because of God or Science?

Rt.Rev.Dr.Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa

As the world comes to a standstill following the spiraling Covid 19 cases and deaths even in technologically advanced countries like USA, United Kingdom, France; Uganda continues to defy the odds and be covered under the wings of the Lord almighty best echoed by the national anthem stanza: Oh Uganda may God uphold thee. It is difficult to fathom how Uganda and Africa has largely escaped a blood bath predicted by, among others, Melinda Gates who said that, ‘Unless the world acts, there will be dead bodies all over the streets of Africa.’ The answer to this enigmatic situation seems to lie in theological postulation more than science, politics or sociology. A viral video clip at the onset of Covid 19 scourge had a message responding to the prediction of Melinda Gates. The clip show cased a European missionary who has lived in Uganda for long articulating the place of Africa in the salvation history of Israel and the world. Maria Plean asserted that God would protect Africa from the Covid 19 pandemic since it was a continent of life, resources and had given refuge to many including Jesus Christ. Marie Plean quoted Psalms 91:7 ‘A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.’ Although some Africa countries like South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda have been heavily affected by Covid 19 and are experiencing the third wave, the case and death toll is relatively low compared to European nations like France, Italy, United Kingdom or even United States of America. As for Uganda we have only experienced the first wave and a case load of 40,734 cases and only 334 deaths. Initially when Uganda and much of Africa didn’t fit the script of massive deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) experts started arguing that perhaps the young population in Africa was the reason. Scientists later opined that the onset of the wet season would possibly trigger a second wave in Uganda. In January and February in Lake Victoria basin despite the rain this did not come to pass. At the end of March 2021, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) Director Dr. Charles Olaro declared that the new variants of Covid 19, namely the South African (B1 351) and the Nigerian (B1 525) had been confirmed. Coupled with the existing Ugandan strains, It was feared that a new wave and highly virulent and contagious virus would be on rampage. Thank God this has not happened. I am glad that the government of Uganda launched the vaccination exercise mid March which according to scientists will assist in minimizing the effect of Covid 19 and eliminate deaths. It is unfortunate that some, including religious leaders are hesitant to promote or take the Astra Zeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing plant in the world that produces other immune biologicals including Tetanus, Diptheria, Measles, Hepatitis B. Uganda is blessed to benefit from the Covax vaccine programme initiated by the WHO which is committed to assisting poor countries with access to Covid 19 vaccines. Through my interaction with Christians who were adversely affected by the Covid 19, It is foolhardy to dissuade someone from taking a Covid 19 vaccine jab. According to New Vision 18th April 2021, in Brazil because of the lack of political will, slow response to vaccination and observance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Covid 19 is now responsible for the death of 2060 children under nine years! Surprisingly though, in my interaction with Christians who live on the boarder regions of Tanzania and who have a symbiotic relation through family and commercial relations, it is baffling to see that Covid 19 has not affected them. Could it be that the local populace has high resistance to Covid 19 due to life style and diet? Does the answer lie in theology? I contend that God is prominent in Uganda’s equation of amazingly overcoming Covid 19, however we need to encourage vaccines for the 50 year olds and above and those with commobidities. Standard Operating Procedures will need to be promoted with some measured government lockdown measures that have been helpful in curbing Covid 19. Nevertheless, we should never underestimate the power of prayer and God’s protection.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa (Bishop Ankole Diocese & Chancellor Bishop Stuart University)



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