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Wim Vanhelleputte Sheds Light on “One More Push” Covid-19 Campaign

"I implore everyone to keep up the fight. Let’s all give it one more push," MTN CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte.

MTN Group in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention last month launched a Covid-19 prevention campaign dubbed ‘One More Push’ with the aim of strengthening and reinvigorating the masses in the fight against the coronavirus. The campaign is not only where MTN has its operations but the telco joined the fight against the deadly virus across Africa.

In Uganda, Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte, the Cheif Executive Offer MTN Uganda noted that the campaign is encouraging Ugandans and people across Africa to remain vigilant in fighting the coronavirus, at a time when we are experiencing new waves of infections.

A quick Q&A with Mr. Vanhelleputte, he sheds light on the One More Push campaign —what it means for the country that is battling the second wave of the coronavirus.

What’s the “One More Push” campaign all about?
The One More Push Campaign is a joint campaign between the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) and MTN Group, which includes MTN Uganda. So it’s a motivational call across Africa for the masses to keep accelerating the fight against Covid-19 by urging them to give it one more push through continuing to diligently wear their masks, washing & sanitizing their hands, practicing social distancing as well as getting vaccinated.

By now, many people already know the SOPs. What was the motivation behind this campaign?
It’s 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 Africa, 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 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 launched 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 the 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, handwashing, 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 have 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 the continental and national levels.

Last year MTN Group donated USD$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 UGX2 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 border points.

We also partnered with National Water and Sewerage Corporation to provide water points in water-hardened areas around Kampala to support handwashing 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 corporate citizens 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 sanitize 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.

The One More Push awareness campaign is an extension of the African Union’s ‘Adapted Africa Joint Continental Strategy for Covid-19 Pandemic’ endorsed by Africa’s Health Ministers and aligned to the ‘Prevent, Monitor and Treat’ approach. It is also an extension of the partnership between the Africa CDC and MTN Group, which includes the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to health workers across Africa through the MTN Group’s USD$25 million (approx. UGX88,422,750,000) donations.

A key part of the campaign is onemorepushafrica.com, a digital content hub of credible and authoritative third-party content covering all things related to Covid-19. This includes facts about getting vaccinated, advice from leading healthcare bodies and medical experts, and important information from the Africa CDC.

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