Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 218

Full Length Research Paper

Religious construction of disease: An exploratory appraisal of religious responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda

Alexander Paul Isiko
  • Alexander Paul Isiko
  • Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kyambogo University, Uganda.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 01 May 2020
  •  Accepted: 30 July 2020
  •  Published: 31 July 2020


This article presents empirical analysis of religious attitudes and interpretation of pandemics in Uganda. The study sought to analyze the religious explanatory models of pandemics offered by the three major religions of Uganda: Christianity, Islam and African Traditional religious belief system. The COVID-19 pandemic which ravaged the whole world, Uganda inclusive, was used as a case study. Based on a qualitative research process, the study relied on key informant interviews, media reports and online sources of information. It was established that pandemics have been part of human history. Pandemics provide an opportunity for human reflection on transcendent life since they are a challenge to science and human wisdom. Pandemics draw people closer to religion and the spiritual due to the fear, panic, and uncertainty with which they are associated. Religions are left with the responsibility of providing theological answers beyond what human beings can comprehend. The hope and trust that society has in religious institutions make them ultimate institutions to provide solace to millions of people affected with a pandemic for which scientists and politicians have no immediate answers. The study unravels the complementary role that religion and theological studies can make in understanding effective management and prevention of pandemics in society. It also adds to the continuous debate on the relationship between science and religion, arguing for the significance of religious ideas in making science effective enough to combat societal challenges like epidemics.


Key words: Pandemics, religion, religious, construction, disease, Tondism Faith, State, science, traditional healing, coronavirus, Covid-19.