PPEs, Delayed Allowances Frustrate Masindi Covid-19 Response

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The Masindi District Covid-19 taskforce is dogged by perennial delays in delivering personal protective equipment for health workers. Members of Parliament on the Parliament National Covid-19 taskforce traversing Western Uganda also learnt from the District taskforce that since November last year, medical personnel are yet to be paid their allowances.

The District Health Officer, Patrick Baguma,  said the PPEs they currently have will run them for one month, but that getting a new stock from the National Medical Stores has a turnaround time of two months. As a result, he said, 24 health workers have since tested positive for the virus, with one fatality. On statistics, the second wave has claimed 16 people, including one private health worker.

With only one ambulance for the district, Baguma said getting critically ill patients to the hospital or referral to Kampala is impossible. Baguma said there’s a problem with oxygen cylinders.

“We only have three cylinders  and all of them are stationed in the theater, so we need more cylinders,” he said.

Dominic Tibasiima, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner said the Police is also crippled with only one vehicle which is on and off the road due to it’s waning road worthiness. Tibasiima added the Shs 100,000 relief fund doled out to families put out of work due to the lock down has left out mobile market vendors and tailors, 600 of whom have petitioned his office asking to be considered. He asked the task force for assistance.

MP Florence Asiimwe Akiiki (NRM, Masindi District) said the pandemic has highlighted areas that require additional efforts in the healthcare system. “Covid-19 came to test our healthcare system: it has checked whether we have good referral systems. We need to use this opportunity to address the critical healthcare issues in the country,” she said.

Hoima West MP, Dr Joseph Ruyonga, who is the leader of the Western Task force encouraged the district task forces to bring out the issues affecting their response to the pandemic for onward transmission to Parliament in search for lasting solutions. MPs Francis Mwijukye (FDC, Buhweju), Asinasi Nyakato (FDC, Hoima City) and Dr Nicholas Kamara (FDC, Kabale Municipality) are members of the Western Taskforce.

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