Ugandan scientists are working on a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, President Yoweri Museveni has said. Museveni made the revelation while rallying support for scientists, who he said have saved the country in the face of the life-threatening disease and other disasters that have struck Uganda of late.
In his 11th address to the nation yesterday at State House Nakasero, the President also rooted for more pay for scientists.
“I want to congratulate the scientific community. They are working on the vaccine. The ones at the virus center in Entebbe have understood the stricture of this disease. With the way we have handled COVID-19, the results do not seem to be bad,” he said, explaining that the coronavirus curve in the country is oscillating between flat and completely low
“I want to call on politicians and bureaucrats to support my long-standing appeal to pay scientists well. I do not like the idea of other people getting a salary increment before our scientists. Let us first pay them well and then the rest can follow,” Museveni said.
On Saturday, the director of Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu, said scientists are using the COVID-19 challenge to grow the country’s capacity to develop research for the vaccine. Kaleebu added that scientists have the potential to develop the vaccine and that they are now building capacity.
He made these remarks during a televised press conference held by the health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng. The President praised scientists for having practical contributions, adding: ‘‘We have now dealt with three huge problems by our own,” citing the locusts, COVID-19 and floating islands that were threatening power generation along River Nile.
Museveni bans returning of those dead of Covid -19 to Uganda
Museveni urged Ugandans not to return to the country bodies of loved ones who had died of the coronavirus
“When someone dies of COVID-19, let the body be buried where the person has died from. Fortunately, we have not had anyone die from the disease. If they die, it will be the health workers to bury them, not the relatives,” he said.
By yesterday, Museveni said, out of the over 11, 000 samples tested, only 55 Ugandans and two outsiders had tested positive for COVID-19.