Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 6 million out of the required 30 million face masks have so far been distributed by the government in 20 districts.
The districts include Amuru, Kyotera, Buikwe, Ntungamo, Soroti, Arua, Adjumani, Isingiro, Masaka, Mbarara, Lira, Yumbe, Gulu, Moyo, Hoima, Rakai, Busia, Tororo, Kakumiro, and Kumi.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health on Wednesday presented an update of the distribution exercise while appearing before Parliament’s Health Committee.
In May, President Yoweri Museveni announced that government would distribute free facemasks to all Ugandans above 6 years as a pre-condition of lifting the Covid-19 restrictions. The president then said that the distribution was to start from border districts which are prone to the virus that the rest of the country.
The Ministry of Health drew a budget of Shillings 81 billion to buy and distribute the face masks.
Dr Aceng said that although 6.31 million face masks have so far been distributed to Ugandans, the Ministry is yet to receive more funds from the Ministry of Finance.
Aceng noted that the Finance Ministry had committed to releasing the funds to her Ministry in the first quarter of the current financial year 2020/2021. She added that the manufacturers of the face masks are yet to be paid.
The Minister’s statement followed queries from MPs about the districts that have so far been covered, the quality of masks and the number of masks distributed.
Kyotera Woman MP Robinah Ssentongo queried the quality of masks being distributed. She also noted that some people have not received the masks.
Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye wondered why it had taken so long for the Ministry to distribute the masks across the country.
Aceng said that she will investigate about the quality of masks. She, however, said that masks are produced in different sizes.
Uganda registered its first Covid-19 positive case on March 21and it has currently registered 1,043 Covid-19 cases.