Safe Way Right Way Uganda together with Transaid and with support from the German and Norwegian-funded Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) initiative have launched a project to help protect truck drivers from getting infected with Coronavirus.
The project is meant to reduce transmission rates and build community confidence in the safety of the logistics sector.
Speaking during the launch of the project, Eng. Benon Kajuna, who represented the Works Minister, Gen.Katumba Wamala said the initiative will go a long way in reinforcing the fight against Covid-19.
“Uganda has registered most of its Covid-19 cases from truck drivers but we must thank them for enduring because without them, we would not be able to receive the various goods for use. I thank you for this initiative to protect the spread of infections among truck drivers,” he said.
The official from the Works Ministry however urged that messages meant to raise awareness among members of the public on prevention of the virus should be put in different languages across the country where truck drivers pass.
“Make sure the messages communicate their intended goals in as far as prevention is concerned,” he noted.
The project will see Safe Way Right Way working hand-in-hand with its member companies including Total Uganda Ltd and Bollore Transport & Logistics as well as with Transaid, a UK based NGO, the Uganda Professional Drivers Network (UPDN) and the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union (ATGWU).
Project partners will roll-out driver-specific COVID-19 safety information, education and communication materials, provide hand washing facilities, cab sanitisation materials and personal protective equipment to keep drivers safe.
Toyota Uganda Managing Director, Mahmood Omar said because the Covid-19 situation is worrying, it needs interventions to ensure everyone is safe.
The Virus has been spreading very fast and is destabilising our lives and business in unprecedented ways. The situation has however, brought out the best in us as we are now coming together to overcome it. Our focus during this time is on our partners, in line with our core value which is safety including health. We are closely monitoring the situation, and have put in place very robust measures to ensure that we continue operate smoothly and most importantly safely during this period,” Omar said.
Peter Tibigambwa the Safe Way Right Way CEO said that because road transport is the most important mode of transport in Uganda, there is need to have all stakeholders protected against the virus.
“The surge in number of truck drivers testing positive for the virus over the last three months has left most truck drivers vulnerable to stigmatisation and hostility from communities. Securing this funding means that working with our private sector partners, and government institutions we can improve the preparedness of drivers to meet national guidelines,” he said.
This project has developed driver-specific factsheets, radio spot messages as well as short information videos to be sent to drivers’ phones to raise awareness and reduce the risk of exposure
To counter the closure of businesses along transport corridors making it difficult for drivers to access running water to wash their hands, the initiative is procuring soap and disinfectants for regular hand-washing and cab sanitisation, as well as locally made, washable and reusable face masks.
Safe Way Right Way will also support Transport Associations at seven driver rest stops and border posts and in Kampala, to help keep drivers get informed on the latest national guidelines.
The project is aiming to reach a minimum of 10,000 truck drivers in Uganda.