Locals on Mutiama Island decry lack of basic services

Locals draw water for domestic use at Mutiama Island in Pallisa District yesterday. PHOTO | MUDANGHA KOLYANGHA

What you need to know:

  • The island has about 5,000 households, but the locals say leaders only visit them when they are canvassing for votes.

Residents of Mutiama Island in Gogonyo Sub-county, Pallisa District, have decried lack of basic services.

Locals say they sail for several hours to access services such as education and medical treatment from the neighbouring sub-counties on the mainland.

They travel to Obutet Health centre II, which is approximately 35kms away, to get treatment. 

Pupils and students also sail for hours to access education.

Mr Moses Olupot, a resident, said they have not benefited from government programmes such as Emyooga and Operation Wealth Creation.

“We have not been accessing government programmes and yet people who live on the mainland are benefiting from many projects being implemented,” he said.

The island has about 5,000 households, but the locals say leaders only visit them when they are canvassing for votes.

Mr Michael Esiep, another resident, said they are poverty stricken. He implored the district leadership to extend services.

“Many locals lack access to clean water. We lack boreholes and we are forced to draw unsafe water for consumption from the lake,” he said.

The residents say low pit-latrine coverage is also responsible for the outbreak of diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

“Some of our colleagues adopted open defecation, which puts our lives at risk of contracting diseases. We need serious intervention and support from the district,” Ms Mary Amulen Amoit, another resident, said.

Ms Amoit urged the government to provide mobile clinics so that people access healthcare.

Mr Eryasa Kanasi, an elder, said the people migrated and settled on the island for more than 40 years as a result of the political insurgency and population pressure on the mainland.

The Pallisa District health officer, Dr Godfrey Mulekwa, said the district leadership is aware of the challenges.

“We have not neglected them, but we have been facing a major challenge of how to access the island because it’s expensive to hire a boat,” he said.

The chairperson of Pallisa, Mr Patrick Duchu, said the district has acquired a motor boat and life jackets to enable medical staff and district leaders access the island.

He said they are also planning to elevate the island into a sub-county so that they bring services closer.

The deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Dhikusoka Magidu, said the government will provide another boat to ease transport to the islands.

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