By Tonny Abet
The Health Minister, Dr Jane Aceng has ordered politicians and other district leaders who have taken over Covid-19 response vehicles, to surrender the automobiles with immediate effect to avoid embarrassment.
In a letter dated December 20th, to all district chairpersons, Dr Aceng said the Ministry has received disturbing information that the double cabin pickups for Covid-19 surveillance are being used by the political and technical leaders rather than the health workers for the intended purpose.
These are the 280 vehicles procured using money donated by Ugandans for Covid response and they were dispatched to districts in October by President Museveni.
The vehicles were received in Kampala by Chief Administrative officers.
Dr Aceng, without mentioning specific districts and names of leaders, said it is absurd that some of the politicians have even gone ahead to rub off the writings on these vehicles.
The Minister instructed the health monitoring unit and all District Health Officers, city medical officers, municipal medical officers to follow up and inform her in writing in any case not later than 27/12/2021.
This is coming at a time when the country needs increased surveillance because of the drastic rise in Covid-19 cases and the detection 25 cases of the highly transmissible omicron variant in the country. In the last five days, the Ministry is registering an average of 173 cases per day which is higher than around 50 cases that were being registered per day previously.
Dr Aceng also told journalists in Kampala yesterday that they have already recovered some vehicles.
“These pickups are a property of the health facilities or the health offices in the districts. They don’t belong to the political or technical leaders. In some of the districts, we have intervened physically and taken over the vehicles but in others, we have not yet had the opportunity to go there. The vehicles must be given back, any district authority that will not comply, we shall have people go there to take action and return the vehicle for its intended use,” she said.