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Inadequate space hinders COVID-19 control measures at Mutukula border post

Limited working space for health workers and truckers conjestion could further aid spread of the virus at the border port laboratory. Courtesy photo

Mutukula, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Inadequate space at the Ministry of Health port laboratory in Mutukula is frustrating the COVID-19 testing exercise and control measures at the border post.

The Ministry of Health last month commissioned a modern laboratory using the Genexpert technology at Mutukula border to support rapid testing for COVID-19 of all travelers at the point of entry into Uganda. Despite its capacity to run at up to 30 samples per hour, the laboratory is still overwhelmed by the high number of travelers mainly truck drivers.

At the moment, the truck drivers who are waiting for their results are left to freely interact with their colleagues who are yet to be screened. This increases the risk of transmission of the virus. Kyotera district Woman MP Robinah Ssentongo says that they were surprised to see all suspects whose samples have been taken interacting with those whose samples are yet to be drawn.

Last week, two mechanics from Masaka Municipality tested positive for COVID-19 under unclear circumstances. The mechanics presented with the virus a day after they had repaired a Tanzanian cargo truck whose driver had been cleared to proceed into Uganda from the Mutukula border.

Dr Daniel Mugagga, the head of the Mutukula border testing and surveillance team says they are still operating with limited space which makes it difficult for them to separate the truck drivers according to the outcome of the results.

He however noted that their staff  members are regularly guiding the truck drivers on how to conduct themselves at the station to ensure that they remain safe.

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