COVID-19 cases are yet to peak, says National Planning Authority
NewVision Reporter
Journalist @NewVision

In March 2020, the National Planning Authority (NPA) developed a model, that makes predictions of COVID-19 infection cases for every two weeks.


The model has been in use since 2020 and has proved to be 97% accurate. Predictions indicate that there is an increasing number of new cases with the peak yet to be reached. The model is projecting a total of 10,144 new cases for the week ending June 19 and 11,222 for the week ending June 26, 2021.


The model projects that the curve is still rising and it will most likely reach a peak in the middle of July.


This will be confirmed in the coming week ending June 26, 2020. This implies that in mid-July, the COVID-19 cases will be reaching the maximum peak.


The model thus indicates that the measures of the partial lockdown that had been put in place on June 6, 2021 were not effective in terms of stemming the spread of the virus.


The model which is a spinoff of a partnership between NPA and Pennsylvania State University (with funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH), USA) is aimed at producing projections capable of facilitating planning for handling COVID-19 in the country.


The model analyses in-country and cross-border factors that lead to new infections within the country.


Unlike the previous wave where factors influencing the spread were mostly from outside of the country, the current wave is influenced by internal factors.


The modelling tools used for the projection are based on the HHH4 model propounded by Leonard Held.


Spatial-temporal data of parameters that can explain the factors that affect the spread and reporting of COVID-19 from all African countries were tested, observing trends that are most consistent with the number of reported cases in different countries.


The factors incorporated in the model give insights of how parameters from these three categories influence the spread of the pandemic in Africa namely; Geographic, Demographic and Economic Factors (population, age structure, region, access to coast and spatial connectivity matrix i.e number of borders between one country and another) and Human Development Index (HDI); Government responses (a composite measure of containment and health policies introduced in a country to manage the pandemic); and weather factors (temperature, humidity, rainfall was considered in the model because most respiratory diseases are more prevalent in cold, humid conditions).


These bi-weekly projections facilitate planning for handling COVID-19 in the country. A saying goes that a live dog is better than a dead lion.


With these statistics, therefore, a total lockdown was inevitable, irrespective of the known economic consequences; human life is far precious to loss. NPA will continue to give the bi-weekly projections and trends in order to support the MoH in effective decision making.


Additionally, in line with fighting the pandemic, there has been a public outcry that private suppliers of oxygen are ripping the public off in high costs. There have been reports that some suppliers bring half or quarter filled cylinders to the market, which is detrimental to the health of the citizens.


For instance, an oxygen cylinder that should last for15 hours ends up lasting eight hours at the cost of a life. There is an urgent need for the National Drug Authority to investigate these claims and ensure private suppliers give the right quantity of oxygen.


The recent move by UPDF’s commercial arm, the National Enterprise Corporation, to start producing oxygen for public health facilities is truly commendable. There is need to support capable citizens and entrepreneurs to move into the space of medical supplies.


Furthermore, anecdotal information indicates that the importers of medicines into the country are mostly foreigners.


Hence, a tendency for profits to be put ahead of the national interest, well as the Government’s focus is saving the lives of its citizens.


Therefore, effort needs to be made by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Parliament to ensure that local content in light of the BUBU policy, is enforced in the area of importation of medicines.


This will greatly benefit Ugandans in terms of favourable drug pricing, employment opportunities and wealth creation.


The writer is the Executive Director of the National Planning Authority

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