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Kitgum health officer under fire for poor management of Covid-19 vehicles

FILE PHOTO: President flags off the cars donated to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kitgum District Health Officer Dr Alex Olwedo has come under criticism over alleged poor management of vehicles allocated for COVID-19 activities.

Dr Olwedo took charge of coordinating about 11 vehicles belonging to the district local government as directives issued by the President in March.

However, some members of the district COVID-19 taskforce have complained that vehicles allocated for COVID-19 activities were not being timely coordinated for COVID-19 activities and health emergencies. They also alleged some of the vehicles have been diverted to different sectors without clear reasons in disregard of the directives.

During a weekly COVID-19 taskforce meeting on Friday, Charles Onono, the Head of the Surveillance Committee noted that lack of transport had become a hindrance to their responses for alerts and contacts within and outside the municipality.

Onono notes that their pleas for a standby vehicle over the past weeks to help them in conducting emergency visits in areas where there are contacts and suspected COVID-19 cases has fallen on deaf ears.

He says the team requires two vehicles to help the surveillance team respond timely to alert cases and tracing of contacts since one person tested positive in the district for COVID-19.

Simon Okongo, the district surveillance focal person notes that transport has been a challenge to his team since the onset of COVID-19 in the country despite the district having available vehicles.

Okongo says sometimes when they need to use vehicles for COVID-19 activities, they get responses that the one or two vehicles are out of the district and wondered why they are being diverted.

Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech says the transport challenge could be an indication that Dr Olwedo has failed to execute his work.

Komakech has since directed the District Chief Administrative Officer Martin Jacan to impound all vehicles that have been diverted for non-covid-19 activities.

Jacan says that some of the vehicles alleged to have been diverted for other purposes are currently being used under the production department to supervise agricultural activities.

He promised to intervene in the matter to streamline the transport challenges being faced but notes that other departments in the district should not be suffocated since the vehicles are all diverted for COVID-19.

Dr Olwedo couldn’t be reached for comment as he didn’t answer repeated phone calls to his known phone number.

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