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Kigezi leaders question govt’s failure to deliver face masks

Some of the food vendors in Kabale town without face masks

Kigezi , Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Leaders in border districts in the Kigezi region have questioned the failure by the Ministry of Health to deliver face masks to the area. 

They say that the area’s proximity to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo increases the risk for the people who therefore need to be supported with protective gear. Rwanda has so far reported 2, 293 COVID-19 cases with eight deaths, while the Democratic Republic of Congo has reported9,605 cases with 238 deaths. 

Although the Ministry of Health had earlier indicated that all border districts would have masks by the end of June,  the masks were only distributed in the districts of Rukungiri and Kabale. The areas that have not received masks include the districts of Kanungu, Rukiga, Kisoro, Rubanda and Rubirizi, even

The area leaders now say that the absence of masks is a setback to their efforts to enforce COVID-19 control guidelines.  Rubanda District Health Officer Dr Abdon Birungi says that the locals are now using this as an excuse for disregarding government guidelines on COVID.

Rukiga Resident District Commissioner Purikeria Muhindo Mwiine says that they are unable to arrest locals who don’t wear face masks because they equally have no answers whenever they are asked why the government has not distributed them. She says that they are only using simple means of sensitization to locals to improvise.

Kisoro Resident District Commissioner Captain Peter Mugisha and Harriet Nakamya, the Rubirizi Resident District Commissioner say that residents have remained hesitant to buy face masks. Instead, they are pushing leaders to explain why the presidential pledge on face masks was never fulfilled.

But Ministry of Health Spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona attributes the delay to the lack of supplies from manufactures. He adds that as long as masks are available all the targeted districts will get.

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