Minister slams ‘under fire’ Arua leaders over COVID-19 suspect Transfer

Minister of State for Primary Health Care, Joyce Moriku. (PHOTO: File)

Arua- State Minister of Health, for public Health Care (PHC), Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, has lashed at Arua district leadership for transferring a suspected case on COVID-19 pandemic to National Referral Hospital, Mulago, in Kampala

Upon being probed by Our reporter, Kaducu distances herself from the actions of the district leaders.

“I have NOT agreed on the decision the Leadership of Arua district have taken to transfer a suspect of Coronavirus to Kampala,” Dr Moriku stated in her social media post

“I made it VERY Clear and loud that they should not transfer a suspect of Coronavirus to Kampala instead put the suspect under Quarantine and test again after 14days,” the Minister added.

Dr. Moriku accused the leaders for defying her directive of quarantining the suspect within the district

” This was their decision against my advice of the patient be under Quarantine in Arua district” she stressed tasking Arua district leaders to be sincere to the public.

“I appeal to the Leadership of Arua district to be sincere hand tell the truth to the public” she added.

Hon. Kaducu revealed that discussion on the matter of setting up an isolation centre was had thoroughly with Arua district leaders during her visit on Easter.

‘Easter day this year, I was in Arua district for the same purpose with Commissioner Aliti Tom. By 9:00 am I was in Arua and spent the whole day, left Arua for Kampala at 5:00 pm.

She disclosed that she visited the newly constructed health facility at Muni NTC subsequent to a lengthy meeting with the District Taskforce on wayforward and action points on Quarantine and treatment centre at Arua hospital.

Thereafter I had another meeting with Arua hospital staff.

“I am so surprised to hear that Arua district doesn’t have a Quarantine centre and the hospital is not prepared. Our Leaders should be honest….. We have 135 districts in this country where I have to visit and support” she said.

Red Pepper has learnt that a WHATSAPP social media “VOICE OF WEST NILE” forum taskforce influenced the district leaders into transferring the suspect to Kampala.

“this afternoon we were in a meeting when we got an emergency call that there was a covid-19 suspect transported from Vurra custom to Oli health centre in River Oli division in Arua.

Our team decided to go to obtain an ambulance from the Hospital director Arua Regional Referral hospital. We held a meeting with a team of doctors who expressed ignorance about the suspect. After consultation with the state minister of health, Hon. Joyce Kaducu Morikhu, it was agreed that the suspect be evacuated to Kampala because the Arua quarantine centre isn’t ready.

What I noticed was that the DHO wasn’t interested in evacuating the suspect because the suspect had not been tested.

It is important to note that this driver (suspect) is a prime contact with the other driver who was intercepted at Karuma having travelled from Mutukula last week.

Our entire team drove to River Oli health centre and camped there. It wasn’t easy but had to put a lot of pressure until at about 9:00Pm, the ambulance left with the suspect where upon we escorted it up to Odianyadri trading centre. A team of security and the LCV chairman Arua, Wadri Sam Nyakua continued escorting the ambulance after Odia trading centre.

We thank the team from Arua for this vigilance, Admin” the group’s administration post reads.

However, action of Arua district leadership to transfer the suspected COVID-19 case to Kampala other than managing it within has not only attracted criticisms but exposed their lies over the media on preparedness of Arua Core PTC as an isolation centre.

One, Josephine demands to know about the Quarantine centre at Arua Core PTC.

“Thank you for this update but in the same interest, we shall need to know why the Quarantine centre if Arua core PTC is not ready?. This level of laxity shall shock us one of these days. So what has so far been done to ensure the centre is ready for use?” She asked.

“The reason for transferring this suspect to Kampala is that the quarantine centre isn’t ready, right? That info conflicts with the earlier position of the RDC and DHO Arua which was aired on media. I’m left wondering whom to believe. Please advise the chairman of the task force to clear the air. Am here wondering if any of the locals here shows any signs of covid 19, are we going to keep referring them elsewhere for further management? Won’t that have a strain on the meagre resources allocated to the district task force. What if the other districts adopt a similar approach, where does that leave us. It’s time we up our belts and brave this pandemic challenge” one, Daizy posted.

“This only tells us that some people who talk very loudly on this page tell us lies. Why did they say the Minister directed them to take the patient when she actually didn’t? How can we trust such leaders in future? In the Health sector, we have what is called isolation places for highly infectious diseases to avoid transmission to others. COVID-19 is in this category if you want, and Health workers who were trained in the management of COVID-19 should be able to manage. All they need is Personal Protective Equipments if they don’t have, then that is another story. So as responsible people, we ought, to be honest to ourselves as we serve our people. Thanks, Hon Joyce for setting the records right.

But Oli Health CENTRE has served as an isolation CENTRE previously in a dense population of over 44000 people. I don’t think The PTC is a problem at all. My only problem is taking away the health professionals or having to find a new set of them to attend to the isolation unit on a full time basis” Ronald posted.

“I appreciate the level of vigilance and cooperation among the people of WN, but I personally think this suspected case is not being handled well.
ADJUMANI had a case as a General Hospital and was able to manage it well, Arua is a Regional Referral Hospital that’s better resourced and should be the one to say if they can not handle the case.

What will happen if God forbid, we get Lugbara, Madi, Kakwa, Alur, Kebu etc cases in West Nile? Are we going to transfer them to KAMPALA? I personally think this is a populist political decision without heeding to technical advice for whatever reason the decision-makers know best.

We need to support the technical team to do their work. If the issue is inadequate PPEs, the medics should be able to raise that with MOH.
We may look populist but could be causing more havoc to our good interventions so far.

I pray we don’t get a case of COVID-19 in West Nile again. Let’s keep the vigilance and allow technocrats do their job” another forum member posted.

About Post Author