Health and Medicine

Byagaba's Corona Virus Address: Ubuntu and a Case for Local Innovation Powered by Productive Panic.

Dear Uganda/Africa.

Me as me, I have followed this corona guy day by day as it spread from China across the world. Not by choice but because Martin from one of the  WhatsApp groups I check regularly has been tracking it and sharing info in real time. I’m grateful for his vigilance.

Thanks to it, I can say I’m relatively well informed about this ka guy. The pragmatic side of me is small small scared because TIA and it’s generally normal to consider worst case scenario…while the anarchist and jaded capitalist within is excited. Confusing times. But my thing with fear is to channel it productively. And this here is me outletting my collective thoughts and questions on what we can do as a country/continent to survive the worst of it. It’s mainly hypothetical musings so if that’s not what you were looking for, stop or lower your expectations. Very little research or expertise has been used for this. Fact checking by those who know better is welcome though.

It was a relief to see the corona world tour start elsewhere first before reaching us. I was really hoping it could be like all those international music and movie world concerts and promotional tours that never pass through Africa. I wasn’t going to complain this time. But Thanos is undeniably in Wakanda now. Tis squeaky bum time.

This presents an opportunity for us. I believe it’s time to see if we can practise that Ubuntu spirit we like to talk about wistfully. That philosophy of community before self. That, be our brothers, sisters and themsters keepers, kinship.

It looks like tough times lie ahead. That’s if our ancestors haven’t got our back and their and our collective burdens haven’t hardened this our melanin against tribulations like corona. We just got rid of ebola for crying out loud. And aren’t our soldiers still trying to shoot locusts baitu. Mpozi that also happened this month? Chei!

Henewe, I digress. We shall overcome this either way. But we’ll definitely need that Ubuntu to overcome with minimal damage. Our politicians are still absorbing the fact that they have to suffer this one with us so let’s be understanding for a minute as they embarrass us in international media with some shady looking cure-peddling ‘genius’, mbu. Heck, even the world’s biggest democracy is having its weaknesses exposed by this corona.

I’m thinking let’s pay more attention to the health professionals for now. And follow their instructions to the dot. They managed ebola, they gat this. For all the soul crushing work they do, they get some of the shittiest pay. And yet they still show up. Those are people that genuinely care about the preservation of human life. That’s if you were doubting their capabilities.

So let’s listen to them so we can make their life and job easier. That job is keeping us alive so, riyale, it’s in our best interest, if you still needed further convincing. And in addition to listening to them, let’s assist them in whatever ways we can.

The panic buying of masks is one of the ways we are doing them a disservice because they need them more than us. Maybe find out how many masks you need to survive 2 months, if any, and donate your excess masks to the nearest health center. Also, SafeBoda, is there a way we can buy your guys this Girl In A Yellow Jumper masks and use them as a safe social distancing delivery and transportation system?

Can we collectively abandon capitalism as we know it and quickly find an Ubuntu model that will work here? This is where the innovation part kicks in. I’ve seen kids on tiktok excelling at breaking down health PSAs into simple easy to consume and understand content. I’ve heard of banks pausing interest on loans. I’ve heard of landlords suspending rent. I’ve heard off hotels offering their premises for quarantine. I’ve heard so much more and I don’t know how much of it is true but I’m digging the general spirit of it all and the warm fuzzy spirit it gives my cynical heart. How can we do more of this?

Media people, we are a nation that thrives on gossip but oba we pause that for a bit. The public is relying on us to inform them about the developments about this as they happen. This time, we need to make sure whatever we are putting out there is accurate. False information will not do anyone any good. Invite a health professional to your panels and run all breaking news by an expert first. Quality over click-bait. Translators…let’s make sure language barrier becomes a myth.

When they say quarantine, let’s take that directive seriously. Parte after parte can resume later. Or let’s stay indoors until we find a way to do it without harming others. I’ve seen the singing Italians. We’ll definitely find a workaround too.  Employers, don’t abandon your guys fwa like that. Do some internal CSR and take care of the people that have been helping your business exist. Landlords, we need to talk. Innovation hubs, how about a hackathon offline/online to identify potential logistical problems and system shortcomings of a lockdown and how we can innovate around them using the resources we have internally?

Politicians, are we together now? Very nice. Kati, all that per diem our taxes have been paying for, how about you apply whatever knowledge you had gone to seek in outside countries and take the lead in figuring out some solutions. That budget hike statehouse wants, can we be better at re-allocation in the coming budget?  Let the one thing that comes out of this be health facilities that can take care of all our needs internally.

Visionary, we are looking at you for that incredibly unique foresight you claimed to sorely have to think for the country. I can’t believe you gave that moustache your time and almost placed our countries fate in his pocket? Meanwhile is that Mbonye guy your prodigy. Coz I don’t know how else he has survived while openly claiming on a weekly basis to have vision more powerful than yours, and even dropping prophecies to support his claims. Ye what is he saying about corona?

Henewe, where was I? Visionary, me as me I am ready to let you rule till you want if you can bring some of that 1986 spirit to this fight and get your entire circus to remember what patriotism is. If ISIS is postponing terrorism, who are your crew not to pause corruption riyale? Those guys of global fund, atleast buy ko one ICU bed. You’ll have dibs on it if you fall sick but it can be helping others in the meantime.

Anyway, I have over-yapped but my point is we need to see how to quickly overcome our systemic shortcomings and put our hands together (figuratively speaking. Keep your hands to yourself, please!) and figure this out. This is not the time to complain about government, even though I have already taken some jabs at them, but to fix it. Even the 1st world we normally look to for repatriations are dealing with their struggle this time.

So, Ubuntu oyee?

Me I’m ready to volunteer where necessary. I’m decent with comms and social media. My ka Muwado platform also has good forums that are great at centralising & archiving information. I have ideas on how they can be deployed for effective information curation and dissemination if that conversation ever comes up.

How about you, what skills, services or tools can you offer? What ideas do you have that can be explored to deal with this?

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2 Comments

  1. It’s a challenge to the bloggers to be among the preservation of human life through recording down the events of today, there is a lot of fake news but those that will read 100 years from now will discern, am wishing they were blogs during the Spanish flu we would be taking on corona guy in a much stronger position

    1. I think the #Stories4Health (http://muwado.com/stories4health-writing-competition/) competition here was a good contribution to recording this corona time in our history. As the pandemic continues, let’s keep on trying to capture events as they happen for posterity

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