Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Amuru District has decried the shortage of health workers which has affected the screening of cargo truck drivers in Elegu Town Council, at the Uganda–South Sudan border point. The border is a major entry and exit route for traffic and cargo between Uganda and neighbouring South Sudan with the largest volumes of goods and over 1,000 people crossing daily.
Amuru District Health Officer, Dr Patrick Odong Olwedo says that currently, only 13 health workers are deployed at the border screening point. They include four clinical officers who do the screening, four laboratory technicians and support staff.
Dr Olwedo also explained that the shortage in staffing is being compounded by inadequate workspace prompting the team to collect samples and screening of the drivers on the veranda and under the tent.
Dr Olwedo explained that delays in clearing the trucks have caused crowding at the border posing risks of infections from COVID-19 pandemic and other deadly diseases.
To boost the provision of health services and quick flow of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) screening of hundreds of cargo truck drivers on transit, Uganda Red Cross Society has erected a makeshift tent for the strained team.
Michael Lakony, the Amuru LCV Chairperson who is also in charge of resource mobilization for the District Task Force revealed the staff shortage has affected service delivery in health facilities in the district.
Last week, the Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng conducted an on-spot visit to the border and acknowledged that Elegu needs a lost work to decongest it. She was appalled by over 1,000 trucks queuing a five-kilometre distance for clearance.
Up to five truck drivers have tested positive to COVID-19 and intercepted in Elegu since April when the declaration of national lockdown by President Yoweri Museveni in response to curb the spread of the virus.