Professor Denis Byarugaba

“Prevention of the next pandemic, whether a recurrence of Covid-19 or a new outbreak, will require significant investment from the Finance and Banking sector in order to minimize the negative economic and human effects,” remarked Professor Denis Byarugaba, Makerere University Professor of Microbiology and member of the Governing Council of Uganda National Academy of Sciences, during the ACI Uganda Dealers’ meeting hosted by dfcu Bank at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala.

ACI Uganda is a member-driven and policy-focused industry body that represents participants in Uganda’s financial markets. Currently ACI Uganda’s membership is composed of industry participants from the treasury departments of the 24 licensed commercial banks. It is affiliated to ACI Financial Markets Association (ACIFMA) and aims to promote greater cooperation between regulators and financial markets participants, build Professional networks, improve technical skills and knowledge among dealers, protect and improve the reputation of all financial markets participants, and support by giving back to communities through sustainable corporate social responsibility programmes.

Speaking on the topic ‘How to Prevent the Next Pandemic’, Professor Byarugaba noted that“We will need to scale up investment in different aspects of the health care value chain such as human capital to man surveillance centres and manage patients. We also need to invest in the Public Health Care system to ensure the availability of ambulances, supplies, protective equipment, blood, and other important requirements. These investments require partnerships between the public and the private sector and this is how you as financial market players come in.”

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Asked how to overcome the hesitancy that surrounds uptake of the virus, Byarugaba noted that vaccines go through a very rigorous process to be approved for human use,even in emergency situations. Healso called upon Ugandans to utilize social media for good instead of discouraging vaccine usage.

dfcu Bank’sHead of Financial Markets, Julius Kateera highlighted some of the effects that Covid-19 has had on the population, such as increased extreme poverty and increased unemployment.

“The International Monetary Fund expects to raise its forecast that the COVID-19 pandemic will cost the global economy $12.5 trillion through 2024. We therefore felt it prudent to organize an engagement to discuss where the health and banking sectors intersect in the efforts to prevent or prepare for the next pandemic,” he said.

“History has shown us that pandemics have been a part of human existence. The only difference is the effect that they have, and the levels of preparation required to be able to survive them,” Kateera concluded.