Gulu – Police has, on Monday, June 1, arrested two legislators and an activist as they joined residents to protest the number of COVID-19 cases at Gulu Referal Hospital
Hon. Odongo Otto (MP Aruu Country), Gilbert Olanya (MP Kilak county) and Stella Kijange, Stella Kijange, the founder of Equal Empowerment Network, (a rights advocacy organization) in Nwoya district were arrested.
Gulu residents hit roads to protest the protesting against the overwhelming number of Covid-19 patients at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital
MP Odongo revealed that it was odd to have the Health Ministry direct the admission of COVID-19 patients to Gulu Referal Hospital that exceed its capacity.
“Gulu Referal Hospital now hosts over 113 COVID-19 patients with a capacity to host 11 only. This is overwhelming the medical facility.” said an agitated Odongo with a placard reading ‘Gulu can handle 11 coronavirus cases. Now at 113 (patients), ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!“
Gilbert Olanya (MP Kilak county) was spotted at the protest holding a placard reading ‘Truck Drivers in Elegu Intentional’ before being whisked away by Police.
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The influx of truck drivers through the Elegu border has seen a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Uganda currently capped at 417.
This protest and tension comes barely two months since Acholi leaders protested the move to admit a Kenyan driver at Gulu Referral Hospital in April
The driver of the truck registration number KCE 448E, entered Uganda through Malaba on April 12, en route to South Sudan.
After his results were confirmed, he was stopped at Kamdini Trading Centre in Oyam District, about 65Km south of Gulu Town.
The surveillance team who intercepted him made a decision to isolate him at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.
As they planned the evacuation, area leaders stormed the Gulu-Kampala highway reportedly to stop the ambulance from entering Gulu town with the patient.
Aruu County MP, Samuel Odonga Otto led the local elders at Palenga Trading Centre in Omoro district arguing that Gulu Regional Referral Hospital where the patient was heading is not well equipped to manage the case.
Kilak South County MP, Gilbert Olanya, equally stated that the decision by Ministry of Health to direct the patient to Gulu was uncalled for since he was intercepted in Oyam District and should have been referred to Lira Regional Referral Hospital.
The standoff ensued and later resolved to have the COVID-19 patient evacuated to Entebbe Grade B Hospital
This was the second time the Ministry of Health met resistance in attempts to admit COVID-19 patients in Gulu.
The first was a man who tested positive for the virus in Adjumani in March whose admission was also blocked by area leaders.