By Simon Abaho
Nile Breweries Limited yesterday joined a number of corporate entities that are donating to the National Covid Task Force with an intent to save lives.
The beer company made a donation of 300 75kg oxygen cylinders valued at over Shs333 million (US$92,000), to benefit major referral hospitals in 17 districts across Uganda.
The cylinders are to be distributed across the country covering all regions: Acholi, Ankole, Buganda, Bukedi, Bunyoro, Busoga, Karamoja, Kigezi, Lango, Sebei-Elgon, Teso, Tooro, and West Nile.
Over the past few weeks, Uganda has tightened restrictions in order to curtail a worrying rise in COVID-19 infections, which have tested the capacity of the Ugandan healthcare system.
While receiving and flagging off the donations at her office, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja said the donation, and NBL’s continued support and contribution to Uganda will make a real difference to the exceptionally difficult COVID-19 situation in the country.
She said the donation will go a long way in supporting the government’s effort to respond better to save even more lives.
“As you may be aware, the government is putting in place a big oxygen plant at Mulago and at other national referral hospitals. The rest of the facilities will be supplied by cylinders filled from National Medical Stores. Very soon, Uganda will be producing all the required oxygen to the national response of Covid-19 and all other ailments across the country. This is a commitment of the government to enhance national response to this pandemic,” she said.
Nabbanja shared that most of the countries that are on top of the pandemic have vaccinated their population. She explained that the government is struggling to make sure that they buy as many vaccines as possible so that they can at least vaccinate more than 20million Ugandans.
“I would like to take this opportunity to request Nile breweries to take part in this and other Ugandans and companies to be counted on the national response to covid-19. For those that have already donated, I thank you for your generosity.”
The Premier assured Ugandans that all the support they are providing to fight the pandemic shall be put to good use.
“I want to inform Ugandans that all the support you are giving us will be put to good use. It is not going to be business as usual, I promise. We appreciate these contributions.”
NBL has previously donated 25,000kg of maize meal to those threatened by food insecurity during the 1st lockdown; 7,900 litres of fuel to Covid-19 Task Forces of districts, Mbarara, Jinja, Kampala and Buikwe, and medical equipment valued at Shs60 million for Mulago Hospital Intensive Care Unit.
Nile Breweries Legal and Corporate Affairs Director Onapito Ekomoloit said the pandemic has shown them that the only way to build a better tomorrow is by working together.
He shared that 300 cylinders may not be ground shaking but they (Nile Breweries) believe even if they succeed in saving one life, that will be worth it.
“As Nile Breweries, Uganda’s beer market leader, we believe in bringing people together for a better world and we are cognisant that we can only bring people together when they are alive. That is why our first principle is safety first. These cylinders have been procured from Tanzania and ready filled with certified oxygen approved by authorities in Tanzania and Rwanda,” he said.
Onapito explained that they are going to work with the respective hospitals to receive the cylinders and they are confident the cylinders will be put to the right use for the benefit of the people of Uganda.
“We have seen globally how stakeholders have come together to collaborate for the greater good. We’re proud to have been able to support Uganda’s healthcare system and its brave health workers at this difficult time.”
According to Francis Kisirinya, Ag Executive Director, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, the donation is a timely and most needed contribution now that will save lives, particularly for those in hospitals.
“The private sector recently appealed to its members to come together and complement Government efforts to the COVID19 resurgence. We applaud Nile Breweries for heeding to our call. With life; business thrives,” Kisirinya said.
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