Health ministry to recruit more staff for the COVID-19 fight

The ministry of health is set to recruit more staff on temporary basis in a bid to block the Coronavirus pandemic from making its way into the country.

While appearing before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine told MPs that the ministry currently operating under constrained manpower.

“We are overwhelmed, right now as I speak our staff at the airport have not rested for two weeks, they have been working day and night, screening the people,” Dr Atwine said.

“I have written already to ask for temporary staff we can hire. The matter was discussed in and we were given a go ahead, we are now in the process,” she said.

Dr Atwine also warned of fake sanitizers on the market which maybe ineffective in the fight against the virus should it come to Uganda. She said the genuine ones must be 60 percent alcoholic and subsequently the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has been directed to weed out the fake ones on the market.

The ministry has also come up with more guidelines on public transport, workplaces and burials which will be officially disseminated.

So far, no case of coronavirus has been reported in Uganda, however the country is on high alert with authorities putting tough guidelines to ensure safety of the citizens as the virus is already reported in six East African countries.

Kenya, now has seven cases, on Sunday announced strict measures including blocking entry to foreigners who do not have a valid resident permit and are coming from a country with a confirmed case, schools have also been shut down.

As of Wednesday, there have been 200,179 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 163 countries. 7,958 deaths have been confirmed while 82,492 individuals have recovered. 18 cases with 0 deaths have been confirmed in countries surrounding the Pearl.