Elegu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health has deployed technical support staff to roll out the Regional Electronic Cargo and Driver Tracking System at the Elegu Border post.
Early this year, Elegu border became the epicentre of COVID-19 transmission in the country which was attributed to long-distance cargo truck drivers en-route to South Sudan. At least 600 trucks cross to neighbouring South Sudan every day.
Launched in September, the tracking system is a mobile phone application that enables the issuance of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) digital certificates that are mutually recognized by the East Africa Community partner states.
The tracker eliminates multiple testing and contributes to alleviating on-going congestion at the East Africa border crossing points. It also provides a surveillance system to monitor long-distance drivers and enables contact tracing.
Ivan Kakire, the Regional Manager of Uganda Revenue Authority in charge of customs in Elegu says the reliance on manual certificates and delayed test results at the borders have caused unnecessary delays at the borders.
Robert Oneka, the Medical Team leader in Elegu says their workload and unnecessary delays caused by the turnaround time for results have been reduced. He, however, noted that errant Ugandan drivers have remained defiant to tests.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine asserts that the system is expected to provide a common platform to be used by the health officials at the border to verify the jointly accepted digital COVID-19 certificates to aid regional movement within the East Africa bloc.
Dr Atwine explains that the Ministry with support from the Trademark East Africa, deployed two technical staff in each of the four other boarder points that include Mirama Hills, Malaba, Malaba and Mutukula to ensure effective implementation of the project.
The digital podium will contribute to protecting lives, promoting safe trade and especially continuous flow of trade, support health-related protocols in all the EAC Partner States – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda – and later extended to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
TradeMark (Trade and Markets) East Africa is an aid-for-trade organization that was established in 2010, to grow prosperity in East Africa through increased trade.
It is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, United States of America as well as the European Union.