Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lack of vigilance towards halting the spread of Ebola has persisted in the central business district of Kampala, despite the 15 confirmed cases, and this has prompted medical personnel to propose a lockdown of the city.
On Tuesday, doctors under the Uganda Medical Association proposed a lockdown to the government to halt the spread of the disease, as the case is with Mubende and Kasanda districts where it first appeared.
As doctors proposed a lockdown of the city, a mini survey conducted by URN revealed that people who operate in the central business district have not taken any steps to prevent the spread of the disease, and this is increasing the risk.
Mapeera Muzaale, the manager of California Plaza along Lumum street, says that though they are yet to put up the required measures to prevent the spread of Ebola, it will not be hard for them because Covid-19 taught them many lessons.
According to Muzaale, they had made some installations like hand washing taps at the entrance of their building, as well as different sanitizing points in the building which only need to be activated.
Along the Lumum street stretch, no building had any visible installations, at least a water tank for people to wash their hands before entering the building, no isolation room as one of the SOPs recommended during Covid-19, and not even any personnel to enforce wearing of face masks before entry in the building. This was the same for all the arcades we visited along Kampala road, William street, Ssebaana Kizito road, and Nabugabo road.
It was only in Kikuubo lane that we found Justin arcade which had a hand washing tank at its main entrance, but the building manager Moses Birungi informed us that it was installed during the Covid-19 days, and has just never been removed.
According to Birungi, though they had a person checking whether people who are accessing the building wash their hands or not, many still refuse. He adds that as the building management, they put posters on every shop entrance warning about the disease.
Dauda Kasirye, the secretary for defense in Kikuubo business community, says that as leadership, they have mainly focused on sensitization of their people through megaphones, a warning that passes every day.
Kasirye says that they also instructed different arcade owners to reinstall hand washing tanks at the entrance of each building in the Kikuubo lane, but people are not adhering to the instruction, adding that the city authorities have also not done enough.
From the start, the government reminded Ugandans to use the Covid -19 SOPs to fight Ebola, and unlike in the past, this is the first time a lockdown has been instituted to halt its spread.
Most people who work in the city didn’t even know how this disease is spread, how one contracts it, or even how to prevent it.
Paul Tumwesigye, a boda boda rider said that this disease is spread through eating on dirty utensils, especially from the downtown restaurants in which many people converge, adding that he devised other ways of having his lunch.
Prossy Lubwama, a dealer in first-class ladies’ wear describes the symptoms of Ebola but she is not aware how one contracts it.
“What I hear people say about this disease, is that people bleed from every opening on their bodies, but how one gets it am not well conversant. However, they always tell us not to be in places where there are many people,” Lubwama tried to explain.
Alex Kato, a dealer in Kitengi fabrics, was well versed with the information about the disease, from how it is transmitted, how to prevent the spread as well as some of the symptoms. However, he doesn’t practice the preventive measures.