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Masindi Fails To Pay Covid-19 District Task Force

MASINDI – The Covid-19 district task force here has no money to enforce adherence to measures meant to slow the spread of viral disease.

In a speech during the recent Covid-19 district task force meeting chaired by Rose Kirabira, the Masindi resident district commissioner-RDC, Geoffrey Nkurunzinza, the district Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), said the district has no money to support the task force.

“We completely have nothing since the financial year closed. What we can do is to give you the vehicles without fuel. We are still waiting for the center to send us funds for the new financial year,” Nkurunzinza said in response to the RDC who asked the district authority to facilitate the task force to implement the guidelines and other activities aimed at combating the spread of the virus.

Kirabira asked the Chief Administrative Officer and Deo Kabugo, the town clerk for Masindi municipality, to help the Covid-19 district task force get financial support by any means possible.

“This can be done by writing to the well-wishers and the implementing partners who can come in to help the Covid-19 district task force,” Kirabira said.

Last week, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja directed local governments to support the  Covid-19 district task force.

But Nkurunzinza said they completely have no money.

“It’s upon the center to expedite the process of advancing money to the district. But apparently our hands are tied,” the CAO said.

Deo Kabugo, the town clerk Masindi Municipality, said the resources can be mobilized if they are guided well by the district task force.

Richard Wanok, the communications manager of Kinyara Sugar Limited, asked the task force to officially write to the company so they can find a way of supporting the Covid-19 district task force.

Patrick Baguma, the District Health Officer, said the lack of funds is hampering the effective implementation of the guidelines and the evacuation of sick people.

“We need more vehicles to evacuate the sick people. We take the sick people either to Hoima Regional Referral Hospital or Kampala. There’s only one ambulance, which has to go to Kampala twice a day. It needs service but there’s no money,” Baguma said.

He added that they have no money to facilitate the burial team.

“For them they need their allowances immediately since the work they’re doing is too risky. Now the burden of facilitating the burial team is on the bereaved families since we have no money,” he said.

Martin Drabo, the infection prevention and control coordinator, told the meeting that since they have no money to facilitate the burial team they decided that the team negotiates the burial fees with the bereaved. 

“In the first wave, we used to facilitate them but this time we have no money to give them,” Drabo noted.

Aled Ronald Akugizibwe, the Buruli County Member of Parliament, told the meeting that the burial team is forcing families to pay Shs 50,000 to each member.

“Remember the team has nine people, this means a family has to contribute Shs 450,000. This is too much money for our people to afford. Something urgent needs to be done but most of our people are poor and the money being charged is too much,”  Akugizibwe said.

The burial team buries people who have died of Covid-19 or are suspected to have been killed by the viral disease.

Joab Businge, the Masindi Municipality MP, asked the district health office to prevail over the burial team.

Businge said the burial team should document all the burials they’re handling since the district is going to get money any time.

“I am sure the district is soon getting the money. What should be done is proper documentation of the burials handled,” explained Businge.

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