Lango locals block Covid-19 survivors from water sources

Thursday July 22 2021

A health worker takes a swab sample for Covid-19 testing at Mulago Hospital last year. PHOTO | FILE

By Patrick Ebong

A section of people who have recovered from Covid-19 in Lango Sub-region have said they are facing stigma from the community.

Ms Margaret Okello, a resident of Acede Village, Abunga Parish in Barr Sub-county,  Lira District, who lost her husband to Covid-19 about two weeks ago, said no one is allowed to go to her home.

“My children and I have completed 14 days of self-quarantine after undergoing treatment. We were tested and found negative but the way the community is treating us is affecting me mentally,” Ms Okello said yesterday.

“My neighbours stop people, including my relatives from assessing my home even those who are taking some assistance are told to leave them at the roadside near my home,” she added.

Another woman, who recovered from  Covid-19 but preferred anonymity,  said when she went back home, her neighbours put a notice on the washrooms that no Covid-19 patient is allowed to use the toilets.

“They asked the landlord to send me away because they didn’t want to associate with a Covid-19 patient,” the woman said.
A patient from Dokolo Town Council said when he confided in his boss about his status, he was shocked to learn that many people already knew about his illness, causing him trauma.


Mr Patrick Opio, the Otuke District health educator, called for more community sensitisation to stop  the vice.
Mr Opio said health officials had to intervene when locals of Okwongo Village in Ogwete Sub-county resorted to fetching water from another well to avoid interaction with Covid-19 survivors. 

Mr Edmond Aceka, the Lira acting district health officer, said the vice is rampant.
“We keep moving in communities to  handle cases of stigma where you find neighbours chasing away those who have recovered from fetching water,” Mr Aceka said.

“The infection is for all of us. So, we have to give all necessary support to whom ever tests positive,” he added.

In a related development, the district Covid- 19 taskforce on Monday received an assortment of personal protective equipment donated by a local NGO, Trust A Girls Africa (TAGA).  The donation was in partnership with Lira Metropolitan Rotary Club.

The items included liquid soap, hand sanitizer, surgical gloves, medical masks, and face shields.

“Covid-19 war does not require any bullet. It does not require any arms but only requires us to follow the operating standard procedures of washing hands with water and soap, of putting on face masks, keeping social distance,”  the deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr James Small Chemtai, said. 

Mr Richard Cox Okello Orik, Lira LC5 chairman, called for a joint effort in order to defeat the war against the coronavirus.