For close to two years, Doreen Ataro lived with a bent leg painted with burn bruises from a fire accident.
At only one and a half years of age, the young girl fell in a pool of fire where she was playing and sustained injuries to her left leg.
As the father Denis Oroto narrates, Ataro’s accident caused his daughter so much pain.
“Her left leg was burnt by the fire causing it to curve to a certain extent. She couldn’t move or shower herself. The mother had to feed and shower her,” he recounts.
But it was not only the physical turmoil that foiled the family. Ataro’s accident also took a toll on the father’s finances.
Oroto has spent nearly Ushs500,000 in an effort to treat the daughter and have her leg restored to normal.
However, his effort was all in vain as the health centres in Kaberamaido were unable to treat Ataro despite multiple trials.
It was not until Pius Ekiro, a community mobiliser in the town, notified Oroto of a hospital in Entebbe that could treat his daughter and the transport was catered for.
“Pius Ekiro told me about Corsu and told me they were also providing transport to and from the hospital in Entebbe,” he says.
On arrival, the young girl was given medical care at no cost.
Around the same time at the same hospital in Entebbe was a young Vivian Achola wrapped in the arms of her uncle, 26 year old Alex Owume.
Unlike Ataro, Achola could walk albeit with a limitation. Achola had had rickets for all her life.
The young orphaned girl who spent the majority of the time living with her grandfather was at the hospital to correct the disability.
Her surgery was also to be done for free.
Doreen Ataro and Vivian Achola were one of the lucky beneficiaries under the MTN Uganda partnership with Corsu rehabilitation hospital.
During the one year partnership, MTN Uganda sponsored corrective surgery for over 80 children and youth worth about Ushs 184million.
Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Uganda chief executive officer says “MTN prides itself in improving the lives of Ugandans. Children and youth are the bedrock of society since they not only bring joy to our lives but also make up a big fraction of the productive economy.”
According to Oroto, his daughter now walks, runs and even plays.
“Before bringing her to Corsu hospital, she couldn’t walk. But now, Ataro can run and play. In fact, now the mother doesn’t need to take care of her like before,” he testifies.
Denis Oroto who practices agriculture to make ends meet says that the wife, Sarah Aponye can now help him at the farm since she is no longer preoccupied with taking care of their daughter.
“Now the mother comes to dig and help me at the farm because Ataro stays playing with her friends,” he says.
Meanwhile, Achola’s uncle,Owume, a resident of Aduku Town in Kwania district has now shifted concern from his ten year old niece’s health to her education as the former is now a problem of the past.
“She is now walking very well. She is now okay and we want her to start school so we are searching for funds to take her to school,” he notes.
He appreciated MTN for its effort in ensuring his niece’s life was back to normal.
Established in 2009, CoRSU is a private, non-profit, non-governmental organization in Uganda mandated to mitigate disability and provide rehabilitative services.
It’s been over a year since the emergence of covid-19 in Uganda which tested the fortitude of many of the country’s structures, the health sector the most.
Around the steep slopes and hills of Kabale district, news of the virus outbreak broke at Kabale regional referral hospital.
According to ministry of health, Kabale Regional Referral Hospital is a 280 bed hospital located in Kabale Municipality in Southwestern Uganda, approximately 426 Kilometers from Kampala.
The hospital serves a population of about 2 million people in the districts of Kabale, Kisoro, Rukungiri, Kanungu and some parts of Ntungamo as well as people from neighboring countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But for two weeks, the very important and strategic referral hospital was closed off to other patients due to the news of the covid-19 outbreak at the facility.
Patients with other diseases were forced to look for alternatives in the town for survival.
A few kilometres away from the referral hospital sits Kamukira health centre IV, a once incomplete deserted building blossomed into a storied building canopied by red iron sheets.
It was in Kamukira health centre IV that the stranded patients found solace. Kamukira health center IV serves a catchment population of 8,778 but receives about 4000 patients both in and outpatients on a monthly basis.
The hospital according to the facility in charge had to step up and take up majority of the patients suffering from other diseases which it handled successfully thanks to its structure and facilities.
The story would have been different back in 2016 when Kamukira did not have the ability to admit patients, with the exception of the maternity ward.
Most in-patients used to be referred to other facilities.
“Patients used to fear since the facility did not have the capacity to admit,” Paddy Mwesigye, the facility in-charge narrated.
A new dawn
However, in 2019, MTN through the MTN Foundation funded the completion of outstanding building works, electricity installations, plumbing installations and finishing.
According to Mwesigye, the completion of the main in-patient structure by MTN Uganda Foundation has solved issues of low turn-up and enabled them treat and admit patients during the lockdown.
Because of the presence of an inpatient structure, there is now an increase in inpatient admissions which has led to reduced decongestion of Kabale regional referral hospital.
MTN also went on to acquire a generator, beddings including: 20 mattresses, 20 metallic beds, 20 mosquito nets and 20 Blankets which have enabled the health centre carry out operations in the theatre.
“The wards did not have a water system in place. MTN Uganda Foundation put flashing water in all those toilets and wash facilities,” he further explains.
The community in Kabale district lauds MTN and is “very appreciative and beyond grateful” as they are enjoying a neat and conducive environment at the hospital.
Prior to 2010, it was survival for the fittest to access water from a borehole in Kiryandongo district where over 2000 people relied on only 2 functional boreholes.
Kiryandongo district which houses survivors of the Bududa landslides in Mbale is also the host community for refugees in the refugee resettlement camp.
As Julius Weleka, the chairman LC 1, Panyadoli A village as well as chairman of the Bududa community narrates, the water situation was so bad that it led to fights between themselves and refugees.
“The relationship between us and the refugees was very bad because people were fighting for water. Sanitation was also very bad because people did not have water. The number of people getting sick was also high,” he recounts.
There was a sudden twist of events when MTN set up 10 boreholes in the area which has since let out a sigh of relief having attained significant accessibility to water.
The boreholes which were an initiative of the MTN Kampala marathon stemming from the proceeds in 2010 have led to increased hygiene in the region especially amongst the children and youth.
“When MTN came in and gave us those boreholes, life changed. Up to today, we don’t have a big problem of water. The boreholes have come to the rescue of more than 4000 people including the refugees who are bordering the village. Now people can cook and bathe which has greatly improved our sanitation,” the 47-year old Weleka says.
Bududa is a disaster prone area with many people affected by the perpetual landslides.
Multiple efforts not only from government but also private sector have gone towards ensuring those affected in Bududa have a second take at a better life.
Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN chief executive officer, recognizes that the role that the private sector must play in the country’s socio-economic development.
He says that MTN Uganda is greatly proud to have contributed to the restoration of livelihood in the community that was plagued by unprecedented natural disasters.
“The rationale behind directing the proceeds towards Bududa landslide survivors was to ensure that those that had survived enjoyed safe water services and are safeguarded from diseases,” he says.
One of the pillars of the marathon is to enable disadvantaged communities have access to and benefit from social services ensuring that no one is left behind.
In the spirit of togetherness and leaving no one behind, MTN has for the past 16 years undertaken initiatives with the aid of close to UGX4billion collected in proceeds.
MTN Kampala marathon proceeds include all
Born in 2004, MTN Kampala marathon has dedicated millions of shillings of the proceeds to providing mama kits to expectant mothers in internally displaced people’s camps.
MTN Uganda and partners have also used the proceeds to renovate and equip maternity wards at Health Centre IVs in various parts of the country.
Between 2015 and 2016, MTN installed state of the art toilets embedded with biogas digesters for clean energy in 10 public schools around Kampala city including Kitante primary school among others.
The marathon proceeds have also drawn water into various districts of northern Uganda including Amuria and Nakapiripirit to mention but a few through the setup of multiple boreholes.
“The boreholes enable us to get clean water and also the distance is not far. Prior to the setup of boreholes, we used to fetch water from water ponds, rivers and the bush which was very dangerous for us since sometimes it would be late in the evening,” a beneficiary from Kotido where one of the boreholes was set up says.
Cognizant of the importance of water in life, MTN prioritized provision of clean water services to disadvantaged communities to mitigate spread of disease and dehydration.
MTN Kampala marathon in which the telecom partners with Stanbic Bank Uganda, Huawei, Vision Group and Rwenzori Mineral Water is the epitome of a successful crowdfunding vehicle.
For the 16 years, the marathon has realized a collection of UGX4billion from runners around Kampala, all of whom indulge for various reasons.
The turnout has also registered tremendous increase as more than 20,000 people took part in the run in 2019.
What runners are saying
Over the years, Ugandans from different area codes have got together clad in shimmering yellow shirts, sharp and shooting for the number one position at the MTN Kampala Marathon.
The run has brought together vast numbers of people from different corners of the country, background, cultural, spiritual and religious affiliation for a just cause.
Wilfred Agaba from one of the media publications runs and visits the gym periodically prior to the run.
The lean gentleman along with his friends practice ahead of time in anticipation of a competitive run come November during the MTN Kampala marathon.
“In 2019, I ran and even received a medal for participation meaning I really came close to winning. I defeated all my friends this year. I feel good because I know I earned it,” he says.
He also admits that the element of charity empowers him to take part in the run.
“Not all of us are privileged to have what we need, so I pay to run because at the end of the day, I know that I am helping someone else,” Agaba explains.
Like Agaba, other participants view the marathon as an opportunity to get together for a similar cause, be it competing, exercise or charity.
Athletes on the other hand attribute part of their career success to the run saying it has been pivotal in their path towards attaining international recognition as Olympic winners.
“I am excited to return to the MTN marathon where I last ran in 2010. I would like to thank MTN for bringing up new comer runners and others can get sponsors from here,” Jacob Kiplimo, half marathon world champion says.
“MTN marathon built me to become an Olympic champion,” Stephen Kiprotich, Olympic gold medalist says.
- The MTN CallerTunez Awards shall be held every month to reward customers who use the call ring back tunes and artistes with the highest CallerTunez downloads.
- The winning artiste every month, will get UGX 2 million while up to 20 customers who download and use the tunes on their phones, will win Mobile Money and other assorted prizes.
- Artistes or authors of the content that has the most improved monthly downloads will UGX 1 million in that month.
- The MTN CallerTunez are MTN’s effort to among others digitize Ugandan music, local content and create additional income streams for the owners of the content e.g., music artistes.
MTN Uganda has revived the MTN CallerTunez Awards that will see artistes earn from their music and other content, every month for the duration of the promotion due to end in Dec 2021. Lucky customers who actively download the MTN CallerTunez will also walk away with cash prizes (MTN MoMo), and smartphones.
These monthly awards come in at a time when concerts and other outdoor entertainment have been suspended as a preventive measure against the spread of covid 19, significantly affecting income of artistes and other owners of audio content.
With the new monthly MTN CallerTunez Awards, lucky artistes with the highest number of downloads will win UGX 2,000,000 per artiste while those who own content e.g., content providers with the most improved downloads in a month, will win UGX 1,000,000. Every month, 20 lucky customers that download or actively use MTN CallerTunez will randomly be chosen to win UGX 50,000 each (through MTN Mobile Money) and smart phones.
“The MTN CallerTunez Awards are meant to recognize and reward both the artistes that create the content used as caller tunes as well as the customers who download and use the tunes,” explained Somdev Sen, the MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer. “We are happy to provide our artistes with an alternative source of income especially during this time when the pandemic has disrupted their work”.
MTN offers the CallerTunez service through a monthly subscription in partnership with Huawei. Under this service, MTN customers can download their favorite songs or audio skits as a ring back tune for their callers to listen to, when they place a call to the customers phone.
For customer to get a callertune, they simply dial *170# and follow the prompts or SMS the word ‘TUNE’, followed by a space then the CallerTune code e.g., ‘TUNE 5151415’ to 170. Each callertune is charged at UGX 700 and is valid for a period 30 days.
MTN Uganda informs its esteemed customers that following the coming in force of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2021, on July 1, 2021, Over the Top (OTT) tax of UGX 200 per day has been repealed. Accordingly, all customers can now access the internet and all social media platforms without paying the said tax. All OTT tax-inclusive data bundles have been discontinued. All other standardised and customised voice and data bundles remain unchanged and are accessible on all our platforms by dialling *150#.
We believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life.
For any queries, please reach out to our customer care support teams on 100 (Toll Free), email firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp 077 212 3100.
MTN Uganda Management