Breaking

Karamoja Risks Complex Emergency With COVID-19, Famine and Insecurity-Health Experts

Dr. James Lemukol, the Napak District Health Officer, says that the region is already experiencing family because of the prolonged drought.
Karimojong women and their children in Matany hospital in Napak

Audio 3

Health Experts in Karamoja are warning that the region risks sliding into a complex emergency situation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, insecurity and looming famine. According to the experts, the lockdown measures have further complicated the already difficult situation in the region in relation to access to basic services.


They note that previously, access to health services in Moroto, Napak and Amudat districts among others were difficult because of insecurity and bad roads among other factors. They note that the lockdown measures have escalated the already bad situation.

Dr. James Lemukol, the Napak District Health Officer, says that the region is already experiencing family because of the prolonged drought. He notes that the number of malnourished children below five years of age is still increasing.

According to Dr. Lemukol, the rate of enrolment into the nutrition program is very high compared to that already on the program. He says that in May they discharged 40 but admitted 300 on the nutrition program. He said that they expect the number of malnourished children to increase because of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown measures and insecurity unless something is done to contain the situation.

//Cue in: “We expect a…


 

Cue out:…other arising risks”//  

 

Dr. Ben Watmon, the Director Moroto Regional Referral Hospital expressed fear that the return of rains might trigger a cholera outbreak in the region, where hygiene is still a major challenge. 

“Last time around this time we had a cholera outbreak and we battled with it during COVID-19. So in order to deal with all these challenges, the health centers need to be fully equipped and medical workers hired,” he said. 

Dr. John Bosco Nsubuga, the Medical Superintendent of St. Kizito Matany Hospital said that many patients can’t travel to the health facility because of insecurity resulting from cattle rustling and movement restrictions because of the lockdown.

//Cue in: “Because of the lockdown…


 

Cue out:…offer health services,”//  

Anthony Okengo, the Abim District Health Officer called for deliberate effort to address the challenges in Karamoja, saying the situation is dire.

 

//Cue in: “Karamoja is a…    

Cue out:…complicates our intervention”//



Over the last six months, Uganda People’s Defense Forces- UPDF has recovered 64 firearms and over 1000 rounds of ammunition from cattle rustlers in the region.  MPs under the Parliamentary COVID-19 Taskforce for Northern Uganda are touring the region to assess the government COVID-19 interventions.