MTN Uganda recently rolled out another Covid-19 prevention campaign dubbed ‘One More Push” with the aim of strengthening and reinvigorating the masses in the fight against the deadly disease. The “One More Push” campaign is spearheaded by The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, (Africa CDC) and pan-African operator MTN Group across their Market footprint including Uganda. We caught up with the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Uganda, WIM VANHELLEPUTTE, who told us what the campaign means for the country that is battling a more deadly wave of the virus.
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What is the “One More Push” campaign is all about?
The One More Push Campaign is a joint campaign between The Africa Centres for Disease Control and MTN Group, which includes MTN Uganda. It is a motivational call across the region for the masses to keep up the spirited fight against COVID-19 by urging them to give it one more push through continuing to diligently wear their masks, washing and sanitising their hands, practicing social distancing as well as getting vaccinated against the deadly virus.
By now, many people already know the SOPs. What was the motivation behind this campaign?
Its true many people are aware but a reminder of vigilance is called for especially now as we are facing a new deadly wave of the disease. Therefore, ‘One More Push’, simply put is a renewed drive to encourage the public not to give up now.
The campaign was informed by the intensity of the new wave of the disease. Like many countries across the continent, Uganda has been hit with a more ravaging wave of the virus that has seen the country register more deaths than before.
Moreover, this is happening at a time when masses suffer from increased apathy, mask fatigue, vaccine myths and misinformation, and an overall concern about vaccine efficacy and safety. That is why Africa CDC and MTN felt the need to re-sensitize the masses about the new wave of the disease.
Last year, MTN Group, including MTN Uganda had the Wear it for me campaign. Was it successful?
Yes. It was very successful and well-received by the public. For the case of Uganda, we partnered with government to accelerate mask wearing, and together with fellow South African companies based in Uganda under the Forum for South African Businesses in Uganda, we donated masks to the vulnerable communities and encouraged the people to wear them alongside the other SOPs to curb the spread of the virus.
So, the One More Push Campaign is a build up on the Wear it for me campaign and the other initiatives we have undertaken, in our effort to end this pandemic.
What is the One More Push campaign’s most important call to action?
It is a consolidated reminder to the public to remain vigilant by adhering to the SOPs even when they may feel tired and somewhat bored by the whole routine of wearing a mask, hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing. We are also urging people to get vaccinated so that we can foster herd immunity.
As I earlier said, many of us are faced with myths and misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines and their overall efficacy and safety. As such, this ‘One More Push’ Campaign that is spearheaded by the Africa CDC in partnership with MTN is aimed at complementing the ‘Adapted Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Pandemic’ of the African Union that calls for a wholesome fight against Covid 19 through strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs as well as vaccination to build immunity against the virus.
Apart from these campaigns, what other initiatives has MTN undertaken to support its customers in the fight against Covid-19?
MTN has been actively engaged in supporting its customers in the fight against COVID-19, both at continental and national level. Last year MTN Group donated US$25 million for COVID-19 vaccines for health workers as well as championing mask wearing and donating masks to communities across its footprint.
In Uganda, our interventions went beyond cash donations; from using our infrastructure, services, products, equipment to our expertise in order to fight this deadly disease. In total, we spend over UGX 2 billion in cash towards the fight against COVID-19 inclusive of activities such as a partnership with the Red Cross society to carry out screening in high-risk places like markets and boarder points. We also partnered with National Water and sewerage corporation to provide water points in water-hardened areas around Kampala to support hand washing among several other donations as well as zero rated services to our customers.
As a profit-making business. What does MTN gain from these capital-intensive campaigns against Covid-19?
As a corporate citizen wherever we exist, we believe that caring for the communities that we serve is paramount to our business since MTN’s fortunes are closely tied to the health and prosperity of our customers and the public at large.
Like I have always said, corporate responsibility is a win-win. When businesses like MTN support communities, the communities flourish and in turn support the business, and that healthy cycle continues.
What are your last remarks to the public?
With the new waves of COVID-19 sweeping across the country, we cannot overstate the importance of every single one of us doing our best right now to keep the virus at bay. I encouraging the people of Uganda to remain vigilant in fighting COVID-19. Let us limit our movements as urged by the government, wear our masks the right way, wash or sanitise our hands and maintain social distancing.
But above all, I remind the members of the public who are eligible for the vaccine to get vaccinated as this will help as a country to foster herd immunity so we can quickly return to the ‘old normal’ and live our lives as we used to. We all need to keep focused on overcoming COVID-19. I therefore implore everyone to keep up the fight. Let’s all give it one more push.