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Border districts in Eastern Uganda seek additional Covid-19 funds

FILE PHOTO: A health worker takes a sample from a truck driver undergoing a test for COVID-19 coronavirus in Busia.

Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Border districts in Eastern Uganda are seeking additional funding to boost COVID-19 response plans. The districts include Tororo, Busia, Bukwo and Namisindwa.

In April, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development released 165 million shillings to districts to intensify the campaign against the COVID -19 pandemic. It followed the approval of a supplementary budget of Shillings 304 billion by parliament last week to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The money was meant for surveillance, coordination, establishment of isolation centres and fuel allowance for the taskforce members among other activities.

However, the district authorities argue that the funds are inadequate for COVID-19 activities.

Connie Bwire, the Tororo, District Assistant Health officer says that they still have a challenge of lack of personal protective equipment in the district yet there are increasing COVID-19 cases in the community.

The district has since registered more than 10 community cases which have been admitted at Mbale regional referral hospital in Mbale district while more than 100 suspected cases quarantined since March.

Bwire says that the COVID-19 task force requires funds to carry out surveillance at the porous border points and purchase food and beddings meant for the isolation and the quarantine centres.

John Okea, the Tororo district speaker and a member of the district taskforce says that the government should improve on the health system in border districts to enable them to manage COVID-19 cases without referring them to other districts like Mbale and Kampala.

The Namisindwa LCV Cchairperson, George William Wopuwa, says that being a border district, the government should have allocated them sufficient funds. He explains that Lwakaha border post on the Uganda-Kenya border should have been considered  than Malaba and Busia border posts.

Paul Kalikwan, the Busia district deputy Resident Commissioner says that the government should give special consideration to the border districts that are still under lockdown and allocate them additional funds to facilitate health workers and security officers enforcing the presidential guidelines.

In May, President Museveni lifted the ban on public transport in 95 districts excluding those at the borders. However last month, public and private transport was opened in selected border districts where covid-19 cases have not been registered yet.

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