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Lack of Fuel Hinders Operations of COVID-19 Gulu Task Force

Yoweri Idiba, the Gulu District Health Officer - DHO says on average; the task force needs a minimum of 80 liters of fuel every 24 hours or cash equivalent of one million shillings for the ambulances to respond to emergencies.
08 Apr 2020 10:54
Armed Policemen in Gulu backed by soldiers of Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) enforcing ban on private cars -Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 2

Gulu District covid-19 Task Force has been hard hit by lack of fuel for vehicles supposed to facilitate emergency response activities.

Yoweri Idiba the District Health Officer says on average; the task force needs a minimum of 80 litres of fuel every 24 hours or cash equivalent of one million Shillings for the ambulances to respond to emergencies.

Idiba revealed that the Task Force has been rallying the business community; well-wishers and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to contribute in-kind to help them combat the spread of the virus but little has been achieved.

//Cue in “The vehicles i… 

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In March, Gulu formed a 56-member committee comprising of local leaders, health experts and security personnel among others. The committee budgeted for 327 million Shillings for medical supplies and equipment to enhance its preventive measures.

However, Tom Oree, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner said the catchment area for Gulu Task Force has stretched even to neighbouring Omoro; Nwoya, Amuru and Lamwo districts which require more logistical support.

According to Oree, the meagre fuel they have been mobilizing from development partners like World Vision; Save the Children and Soletere Foundation among others has been consumed in police operations backed by Uganda People’s Defense Forces – UPDF soldiers.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Health said the National Task Force on COVID-19 is yet to convene later this week to scrutinize the budgets for the different districts before funds are released.

//Cue in “But you see… 

Cue out “…be with fuel.”//

Gulu District has so far responded to over 70 suspected cases of COVID-19 since mid-March this year. All the cases have been under self and institutional quarantine at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor Hospital, the only two gazetted isolation and treatment centres.