Residents of Gulu District and Northern Uganda as a whole have threatened to rise up against government, protesting the manner in which the rampant COVID19 cases in the region are being handled by the state.
There were peaceful demonstrations organised by residents in Gulu on Monday June 1 protesting government’s move to flood the already poorly equipped Gulu regional referral Hospital with COVID19 patients beyond it’s capacity and failure to handle the issue of truck drivers from neighboring South Sudan.
In the process, a number of demonstrators were arrested and held at Gulu Central Police Station.
Among those reprimanded in the protests included MPs Odonga Otto, and Gilbert Olanya, which prompted Gulu Woman MP and Leader of Opposition in Parliament Betty Aol Ochan to issue a written warning to government to immediately address their concerns, release the activists in police custody or else she mobilises the public to close the border.
In the venomous Monday 1 letter, the opposition chief expressed support for the incarcerated demonstrators and asked Government to radically intervene to resolve the illogical concentration of COVID19 patients and a poorly equipped Gulu Hospital, failure to do so will lead to dire consequences, including the closure of border with South Sudan.
“We stand In solidarity to call upon the government to radically sort out the mess of corona virus cases admitted in Gulu Regional Referral Hospital immediately.
I declare my solidarity with my colleagues and other activists who who include Hon Members of Parliament, Odonga Otto, Gilbert Olanya and activists Kelly Komakech among others who were this morning arrested from a peaceful demonstration in Gulu town while protesting the flooding of Gulu hospital with Covid cases.”
According to Ochan, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital has a capacity of only 11 Covid patients although it is currently overloaded with , 112 cases admitted at the facility. She also adds that the hospital has no ICU center to handle any of the Covid-19 patients if need arises.
She demanded that government and ministry of health sort out the truck drivers at the border, failure to do so “we shall mobilise the community to block them.”
In addition, Ochan demanded that government comes up with instant testing and release of results instantly, which she says would go a long way in curtailing the spread of the infectious disease among communities as the rate it which positive cases interact with the public would be checked.
She also asked government to deploy police and UPDF to escort these trucks from one border point to the other and also transfer other patients to other hospitals to reduce the burden on Gulu Referral Hospital, and its over stretched health workers.
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