On 25 March, Uganda entered a nationwide lockdown in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. The country has so far recorded 81 cases of COVID-19. With the restrictions on movements imposed by the lockdown, Boda Boda (motorcycle taxi) riders, have been essential in delivering food and other necessities to households all over Uganda. For UNFPA, an ongoing partnership with Safe Boda, a network of motorcycle taxi riders, is creating an opportunity to provide another essential service. Delivering condoms to communities.
Condoms are critical to prevent unintended pregnancies, transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
As a result of COVID-19, the number of women unable to access family planning and facing unintended pregnancies is expected to rise, a study by UNFPA shows. A number of health facilities have closed or are only providing a limited set of services to women and girls. Restrictions on transport have meant that Community Health Agents, who normally deliver commodities to communities through partners like Marie Stopes Uganda and the AIDS Information Centre, are unable to access commodities from health facilities.
With Support from the Embassy of Sweden, UNFPA is working in with Safe Boda through its network of riders to deliver condoms to Community Health Agents including Peer Educators and Village Health Teams in Kampala and Wakiso districts. A total of 119 community agents have been mobilized to move door to door distributing the condoms to clients in need.
“Crises such as COVID-19 do not diminish the need for reproductive health commodities. In fact the pandemic and the restrictions in place although necessary, put more people especially women and girls at risk of losing the ability to plan their families and protect their bodies and their health. Sexual and reproductive health services and commodities are often overlooked in times of crisis, yet women continue to require family planning,” said Alain Sibenaler the UNFPA Representative.
Over the next three months UNFPA and SafeBoda projects to reach 80,000 people and distribute 1,000,000 free condoms. The distribution will cover high population density areas including Makindye, Kibuye, Ndeeba, Natete, Mengo, Kisenyi, Katanga, Kalerwe, Wandegeya, Kikoni, Rubaga, Kyebando, Kisaasi, Kireka, Mpererwe, Gayaza, Bweyogerere, Mutungo and Luzira.
In addition to delivery of free condoms, UNFPA and Safe Boda are working on creating an online shop as an additional feature to the Safe Boda App that is used to order Safe Boda rides. The online shop will enable clients to order condoms and other reproductive health commodities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Full story here on UNFPA Uganda website