Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, director of Public Health at ministry of Health, has called for more government financial support to Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS).
He noted that many times the Red Cross knows of an emergency situation before the government does, and even instantly tackles it before government response comes in later.
Kyabayinze was speaking at the launch of the 265-page World Disasters Report 2022 titled, Trust, Equity and Local Action: Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic to Avert the Next Global Crisis. The function, combined with a belated celebration of World Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement day, was held at the Office of the Prime Minister Conference hall on May 31, 2023.
The annual day, always marked on May 8, was celebrated under the theme, ‘Everything we do comes from the heart’. The occasion was graced by representatives of German, Austrian, Belgian and Netherlands Red Cross societies, the UN family, ambassadors, academicians and corporate private sector persons.
The disasters report is published every two years by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC) in which URCS is a member; URCS also made contributions in the report.
Kyabayinze, who pleaded with attendees to observe a minute of silence for volunteers who get injured or lose their lives in the course of tackling emergencies, said government ought to raise its support to URCS. URCS is auxiliary to government, which means that it is partly funded by government but is independent in its operations.
“Red Cross should be well funded at all times so that it has sufficient cushion money to enable it take to its usual swift action in cases of emergency. This business of saying we have to look for the money when tragedy has already happened
prevents us from intervening in time and people might end up dead or the disaster getting out of hand,” he said.
Grace Muliisa, managing director of Ecobank Uganda, spoke on behalf of the corporate private sector, promising support to URCS programmes.
Robert Kwesiga, secretary general of URCS, said besides government budgetary support channeled through ministry of Health, the society carries out continuous fundraisings, internally and externally.
He said they would require an annual budget of Shs 40 billion to do their peacetime work effectively; otherwise, he could not put a definite figure to a budget for disasters.
Source: The Observer