Uganda registered the first COVID-19 case on 21st March 2020. It has been sleepless nights, endless meetings and strategies to save the lives of Ugandans despite the challenges.
At the helm of this and with an undeterred spirit and resilience are officials from the Ministry of Health.
To mention but a few, the Minister for Health and now Woman MP of Lira City, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine, Director General Health Services, Dr Henry G Mwebesa.
It is important to note these officials are the crème de la crème of the NRM Government.
Technical expertise, transparency and accountability remains the intersection among this trio.
This trait has many of their ‘allies’ turn into ‘foes’. They seldom partake in activities that will put the lives of Ugandans at risk, but what does the public do? Pay them back with misinformation, negative propaganda and forwarded ‘Whatsapp’ messages aimed at tarnishing their reputation.
Of recent, digital media has been awash with several allegations about the COVID-19 response. One such allegation revolves around the donations worth UGX 29.6Bn.
In the recent Auditor General’s report, Ministry of Health was lauded for its accountability which stood at 92%. Unfortunately, this high score will never appear in the public domain.
However, the Ministry like any other organization had challenges and one of these include the delay in procurement due to the effects of the total lockdown that was instituted in March 2020.
The Ministry of Health has severally clarified on the allocation of the funds received under the National COVID-19 Response Donations Fund Committee.
The Committee with guidance from H.E. The President of Uganda, approved the use of the UGX. 29.6 billion as follows;
Shs 23.9 billion for purchase of 282 pickups (double cabin) for disease surveillance and laboratory follow up. These will be distributed to all districts. This was done because the country lacked vehicles for surveillance and transportation of samples and the WHO spent enormously on hiring vehicles which was not sustainable.
Delivery of the vehicles has started. To-date, 121 vehicles have been delivered and the balance are in transit.
UGX. 3.3 bn to construct a Blood Bank at Soroti RRH Procurement of contractors for the Blood Bank is ongoing.
UGX. 2.4 bn for construction of Port Health Units at Cyanika and Vurra.
Procurement of contractors for the Port Health Units is ongoing
Of the UGX 29 Bn, UGX 23.9 Bn for vehicles was utilized by the Ministry of Health while the rest was returned to the Consolidated fund because it was provided in the last quarter of the Financial Year 2021/22. Therefore, it could not be utilized on time because of the lengthy procurement process.
It is unfortunate when sections of the public choose to shame and mudsling Government officials without getting facts. Misinformation leads to mistrust in the public and this can have a detrimental effect on the COVID-19 response.
As a community and an individual, it is our sole responsibility to avoid spreading wrong information about Government programs and officials who continuously sacrifice their lives, families and time to save lives of the 42 million Ugandans.
Let’s show love and respect. Together, we stand, divided we fall.