Myths about COVID-19 “put lives of Ugandans at risk,” Bishops in Uganda Caution

The Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Bishop Anthony Zziwa and Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda

Bishops in Uganda have cautioned citizens against mythical narratives about COVID-19, saying the assumptions endanger the lives of many in the East African nation.

“The community is filled with all sorts of myths and talks, some saying COVID-19 is not a disease for the Africans while others say it’s not in Uganda. These talks put the lives of Ugandans at risk,” the Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), Bishop Anthony Zziwa was quoted as saying Tuesday, May 5. 

The Bishops’ caution follows media reports about fake news on the pandemic that has continued to spread across the globe, with at least 3.5 million confirmed cases across 187 countries, including over 250,000 deaths.

An April 28 report by the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) indicates that the landlocked country has seen a lot of fake news about the virus on different social media platforms.

“Different information has been circulated on social media platforms claiming that drugs used for treating malaria could heal COVID-19 patients,” the WOUGNET report reads and continues, “Antiretroviral (ARV) medication is also one of the drugs rumored to be the treatment for the virus.”


Further, the report says, “According to some communities, COVID-19 is thought to be a disease for the ‘white people’, ‘people who travel by airplane’, ‘Kampala people’; this kind of misinformation has made most of the rural communities relaxed about following the safety precautions given by the WHO and Ministry of Health.”

Mythical narratives about the disease have also circulated among the political elites in the county. In March, the speaker of Uganga’s parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, said the country was to make a vaccine against the pandemic. 

To curb the spread of fake news in the country, the Ministry has set up a platform where facts about the disease are uploaded.

Uganda, also referred to as the Pearl of Africa, has recorded at least 100 cases of COVID-19 and 55 recoveries with no related deaths. 

Bishop Zziwa made known the Catholic Bishops’ concern while handing over relief food to the COVID-19 National Taskforce Tuesday, May 5.

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He offered prayers for his country and the world at large including the families affected and infected by COVID-19 and the souls of the deceased to rest in peace.

At the Tuesday event that saw five tons of maize flour and beans donated, the 64-year-old Local Ordinary of Kiyinda-Mityana said that the Catholic Church has been at the forefront of helping the Ugandan community during this trying moment.

Uganda’s Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda, who received the donations, “hailed the Catholic Church for this gesture and not only to the National task team but it has gone an extra mile to distribute food to people in the different dioceses.”

On March 30, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni placed the country on a 14-day lockdown as a measure to curb the spread of the virus. The lockdown measure was extended by another two weeks on Tuesday, May 5.

Following the restriction, Prime Minister Ruganda announced that the government will provide relief food for 1.5 million vulnerable people living within and around the capital city, Kampala.


So far, the national COVID-19 task force has received UGS.21 billion (US$5.4 million), 50 motor vehicles, health equipment and food stuff.

The Prime Minister-headed team is seeking to raise over UGS.170 billion (US$44.3 million) that will facilitate buying of testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPEs), according to Uganda’s ministry of health officials.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.