The Ministry of Health has implored Uganda Police to immediately reinstate use of breathalyzers, locally codenamed ‘kawunyemu’ as a robust measure to curb the skyrocketing road accidents.
The Director General of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa has since issued a statement on the matter.
The Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT), Uganda Police Force (UPF) and UNRA have had detailed discussions regarding use of breathalyzers to reduce Road Traffic Accidents caused by drivers under the influence of Alcohol, among others.
Ugandans are the leading alcohol consumers in Africa and many individuals drive under the influence of alcohol. You will recall, due to COVID-19 in 2020, MOH advised against the use of breathalyzers, for fear of spreading Covid-19 in the process.
It is sad to note that since then, Uganda has registered an increase in the number of Road Traffic Accidents with 40% being fatal.
Accidents due to drunk driving can affect all road users including children, pedestrians and other drivers who are not drunk.
Following the significant reduction of COVID-19 cases, the MOH has evaluated the risk of getting COVID- I 9 through Breathalyzers and finds it very negligible.
Besides, UPF has confirmed that each client will use a separate. sealed and disposable tube to blow through the Breathalyzer.
It is against this background therefore, that MOH recommends immediate re-introduction of breathalyzers to test alcohol levels consumed by motorists.
This is a countermeasure against deaths due to road traffic accidents by drunk drivers. However, the public is strongly advised not to drive after alcohol consumption and to cooperate with the Uganda Police Force.