Vendors abandon markets over lack of mosquito nets

Leaders in Fort Portal City receive mosquito nets on behalf of market vendors last week. More than 400 mosquito nets were delivered by the Ministry of Health. PHOTO/ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • The vendors, who have been bracing cold nights and mosquito bites, say they will now commute from home. 

A section of vendors operating in different markets in Mbale City have abandoned sleeping at their workplaces over lack of mosquito nets.

President Museveni in June instituted a 42-day lockdown and ordered vendors to sleep in the markets as part of the measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The President later directed the Ministry of Health to distribute mosquito nets to all vendors in the markets.

However, a section of vendors operating in Mbale Central Market, Bugwere and Kikindu markets, said they have never received the nets despite continuously reminding city council officials.

Mr Madina Nambozo, a vendor in Mbale Central Market, said they endured mosquito bites for the first weeks hoping that the government would provide them with the nets, but in vein.

“They said we would get mosquito nets but we haven’t got any nets. I cannot continue sleeping here anymore,” Ms Nambozo said yesterday.  Ms Irene Mudima, another vendor, said they have contracted malaria because of mosquito bites.

“We were sleeping without nets because we had to work to sustain our families, but it’s now unbearable,” she said.
Mr Yusuf Nsubuga, the general secretary of Mbale Central Market, said some vendors have abandoned the market.   “The government promised mosquito nets but they only brought few, which we gave to about 800 vendors out of the 3,000, who were registered,” he said.

Mr Nsubuga said most of the vendors have decided to commute from home.

Mr Jonathan Weere, a vendor in Kikindu Market, said they have never received the nets.  “They got fewer nets from the government, which they would have shared with us operating from other markets, but they did not. They instead distributed all in one market,” he said.

Mbale Central Market chairperson Ayub Madoi said the government should consider sending more nets.  
“We have sent our appeal to the leaders and we hope the government will act,” he said.