As Uganda registers 33 people infected with new Coronavirus (COVID-19), Uganda’s major telecom companies are up in arms to against the epidemic which has brought the entire world to its knees. Huawei Uganda, a Chinese telecom company, was the first to announce its donation of telemedicine solutions to government, through the Ministry of Health, to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The IT equipment company blended its support through a teleconferencing package, to enable health officials work remotely. The package included video conferencing equipment that shall enable mobile video meetings, and communications among staff in various sites such as health centers and the Ministry of Health. The video conferencing solution include special video terminals and software that can link to more devices such as smartphones and computers to allow doctors to communicate at whatever time or place.
Government Receives Donation
The equipment was received on behalf of government by Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health Minister at Ministry Headquarters in Kampala. Huawei Uganda Executive Director Enterprise Business group, Bai Chengyu, said the video conferencing equipment has been installed at different offices at the Ministry of Health and Mulago Hospital, and that Huawei was willing to give more assistance.
“This video conference and telemedicine solution has been implemented all over China, Thailand and Pakistan among others to assist in the fight against COVID-19 and I hope this shall also be of help here,” Chengyu said. He noted that the system can be connected to its kind in other countries to enable in International collaboration.
Applause For Huawei
Speaking at the function, Dr. Aceng said the equipment will go a long way in helping government in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. She applauded Huawei for efforts to improve the ICT sector in the country, through helping Uganda’s Health Sector. “I am very grateful for this wonderful and generous donation by Huawei. This is of great importance to the country in such a time. We thank you Huawei for your great effort and contribution,” the Health Minister said.
Dr Aceng said that the digital package also includes special video terminals and software that connects to more terminals such as phones and computers of the doctors and officers. “This shall enable real-time communication and interactive content sharing without much risk of physical contact,” she noted. The telemedicine solution is aimed at enabling real-time communication and interactive content sharing without much risk of physical contact among the health officers.
In a bid to further mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Airtel Uganda has partnered with a number of websites to provide free access to health tips and updates as well as educational material for the school-going children who are currently at home. This announcement comes a few days after the telecommunications company waived charges on the Airtel Money platform to enable subscribers to send money to their loved ones at no charge and discourage the physical exchange of cash to curb the spread of the virus.
No Charge Wallet
Currently, sending money from Airtel to Airtel is free for a period of 30 days as well as Airtel Money wallet to bank and bank to Airtel Money wallet. In addition, Airtel Money Pay charges to the customers and merchants are free. Commenting on the partnership, Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar, noted that these interventions are Airtel’s humble contribution to Ugandans during this critical period.
“It is important for the school-going Ugandans to keep up with their curriculum and for the entire country to get health tips free of charge,” he said. Airtel Uganda has also ensured that all shops and branches remain open for the subscribers, while conveniently following all safety measures, social distancing and availing sanitizers. Somasekhar further pledged to continue supporting Ugandans during this period.
“We know that with connectivity, communities here will be able to access reliable information to overcome this pandemic and improve their lives through trade, education and commerce and full offerings of Airtel Uganda’s reliable network,” he concluded.
MTN Uganda has also announced its plans to support the masses. The company has waived fees off some of its mobile money transactions. The CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte, announced the company’s plan to support the fight against the pandemic; a work from home data bundle. The offer comes alongside a day-time data bundle. Customers will get 1GB of data at just UGX 2,000 valid between 9am and 5pm. MTN is also complementing government’s sensitization drive by availing UGX 500 million in cash and free media channel space (radio, TV, social media, SMS, call center IVR platform) to promote the Ministry of Health’s sensitization messages.
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