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Gulu City Market Vendors Raise Concern over Inadequate Mosquito Nets

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health distributed only 400 mosquito nets to the more than 4,000 vendors within the different markets in Gulu City.
Margaret Lanyero standing next to her stall. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

Audio 4

Gulu City market vendors have raised concern about the inadequate mosquito nets that were distributed.

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health distributed only 400 mosquito nets to the more than 4,000 vendors within the different markets in Gulu City.  

The distribution of the mosquito nets stemmed from the Presidential directive that all market vendors in the country stop commuting from their homes and sleep in their respective markets to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.  

However, in Gulu City, the distribution exercise started from Cereleno, Layibi Central, Railway and Gulu Main Markets which have more than 2,000 vendors.  

Thousands of the vendors however missed the nets and vowed not to sleep in the markets until they are given claims that they cannot risk their lives.   

In Cereleno market which has more than 500 vendors, only 50 mosquito nets were given to the most vulnerable vendors especially the elderly and women. At Gulu Main Market, where there are more than 2,000 vendors, 150 mosquito nets were given out, Layibi Central Market got 40 while the railway market received 20.   

The unequal distribution has however raised fury among the market vendors and their leaders.    

Mark Odoch, the Chairperson of Cereleno Market says that it is unfortunate that not even half of the market vendors received the mosquito nets.    

He explained that many more market vendors will continue commuting from their homes to the market because they did not receive the mosquito nets and this would make sleeping in the market meaningless.  

//Cue in: ‘’net ma gi…   

Cue out: …was I 500.’’// 

Margaret Lanyero, a market vendor in Cereleno also welcomed the distribution but tasked the government to bring more nets to the market vendors who missed so that all of them stop commuting from home.  

She also asked the government to consider developing structures in the different markets arguing that most of the structures are dilapidated and unhealthy for one to sleep in. 

//Cue in: ‘’pien nongo kot…   

  Cue out: …mini gi net.’’//   

Beatrice Aryemo, a vendor in Layibi Market who received the mosquito net said she is willing to start sleeping under her stall in the market. She also appealed for a tarpaulin to erect a makeshift structure since her stall gets wet whenever it rains.   

//Cue in: ‘’wan kumbedi wa…   

Cue out: …an Apwoyo gira.’’//   

Susan Acan, the Gulu City Chairperson for Finance, Production and Marketing who is leading the distribution exercise, tasked the government to bring more nets so that all the market vendors receive and be able to sleep in the markets.   

//Cue in: ‘’sometimes back the…   

Cue out: …then Layibi side.’’//     

Denis Odongpiny Odwong, the Gulu City Resident Commissioner says that his office has already written to the Ministry of Health asking for additional 2,000 pieces of mosquito nets to cover at least half of the market vendors.