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Shortage of vehicles slows COVID-19 response activities in Gulu

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

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The emergency response activities by the Gulu district COVID-19 taskforce are slowing down as a result of a shortage in motor vehicles for field operations.

The task force that started its operations in March with 25 cars has remained with only five functional vehicles after cars belonging to government departments and agencies were withdrawn when the lockdown restrictions were eased.

Some of the pertinent activities of the task force include the evacuation of patients and their contacts, sensitization of the community by engagement and risk communication as well as routine patrols by security personnel.

Gulu District Police Commander-DPC Emmanuel Mafundo says that the shortage of operation vehicles to aid security response activities in Aswa region with eight districts has become a great challenge.

Bishop Loum Janani, the in-charge of case management at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital noted that the facility does not have a designated ambulance of its own to evacuate COVID-19 patients after the new one assigned to it by the Ministry of Health broke down.

Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the district chairperson and the taskforce spokesperson says that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) operating in the region has expressed willingness to support them with a fleet of vehicles, to ease their transport needs.

The Resident District Commissioner Santos Okot Lapolo who is also the taskforce chairman disclosed that they are so constrained that they may not be able to address all concerns with urgency. He added that as the financial year comes to an end, some government service delivery must continue amidst the COVID-19 threat.

The task force is faced with an uphill task of enhancing public awareness following community infections being reported in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gulu Regional Referral Hospital has discharged up to 66 individuals who have recovered from the contagion.

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