Sironko residents defy Covid-19 guidelines

Uganda's President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni. PHOTO/FILE/PPU

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Leaders have asked government to conduct mass sensitisation on Covid-19 in rural areas.

Residents of Sironko District, Bugisu Sub-region have continued to flout Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place to curb the spread of the virus in country.

Many people in trading centres, especially in Budadiri Town Council, do not wear masks or keep social distance as recommended by the Ministry of Health. Others only wear face masks when they see enforcement officers or while visiting law public offices.

Health officials and local leaders have warned that the complacency among the public is likely to  lead to a potential spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Mr Sarah Namwenge, a resident of Wagagai Village in Budadiri Town Council, on Monday said:  “Our people put on homemade cloth masks which they rarely wash and chances of contamination are high.”

But Mr Robert Manana, a businessman in Budadiri Town Council, blamed the laxity among the locals on lack of information and misinformation on Covid-19.

“The village health teams, who are supposed to spread the gospel of prevention of Covid-19, are not doing their job, either due to lack of facilitation or fear of contracting the disease,” Mr Manana said.

When this reporter visited Budadiri Town Council, a group of locals gathered at Malwa (local brew) bar were seen sharing a drinking tube.

At Budadiri Health Centre IV, the Covid-19 isolation centre is full while 11 health workers have so far contacted the virus.

 A total of 260 cases and six deaths have been registered in the area since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Most health centres Daily Monitor visited including Budadari and Buwasa do not have enough personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as surgical masks and gloves.

Mr Cosma Busima Mafabi, the executive director of Francisco Mafabi Foundation,  has appealed to government to conduct  mass sensitisation in rural areas.

“The Covid-19 messages need also to be translated in local languages and aired on radio stations and other channels to deal with the existing information gap,” Mr Busima, said.

Mr Busima, together with his brother Gregory Gidagui Mafabi, a businessman and other relatives started the Francisco Mafabi Foundation to support Covid-19 patients to access treatment and also provide equipment for health centres in Bugisu.

 The foundation has so far procured and distributed drugs and other medical supplies worth Shs18m to various health facilities in Bugisu.

Among the drugs donated include, Dexamethasone, Augmentin Oral, Multi Vitamin C and B, Zinc, and Covidex, a supportive herbal treatment for Covid-19,

Mr Busima, also a former MP of Budadiri East, said they were inspired to support Covid-19 patients after eight family members contracted the virus.

“We decided as a family to pull resources and give back to the community in this hardest moment,” he said.

Mr Jackson Massa Wasukira, the founding member of the foundation, said: “We hope this will enhance the government’s effort in the fight against the pandemic.”

Dr Paulo Wakoko, the   Sironko District health officer, applauded the foundation for equipping health centres to handle Covid-19 cases.

“We have received drugs and PPEs for various health facilities, which is a positive gesture to already constrained facilities,” he said.

The Resident District Commissioner, Ms Patience Wabule, said cases of Covid-19 in Sironko have reduced after the 42-day nationwide lockdown was imposed.


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