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MOH Mooting for Testing of Truck Drivers in Country of Origin

The preferred testing process according to Dr Aceng will be connected to a regional network through which the EAC member states and will be able to effectively track the patients before they interact with the community.
16 May 2020 17:57
Inside the new Genexpert Laboratory set up at Mutukula border to run on spot Covid Testing

Audio 2

The Ministry of Health is mooting for mandatory testing of all cargo truck drivers from their country of origin.

Faced with the challenge of registering many new cases of COVID-19 imported from the neighbouring East African Community member states, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng the Minister of Health says they now want all trucks drivers to first, undergo testing from their respective points of origin before embarking on their journeys.

Dr Aceng says that although Uganda is building its local testing capacities at the border entry points, they all want the EAC member states to agree on a common approach of identifying and managing COVID-19 cases such that they can reduce risks of spreading the virus across borders.

The preferred testing process according to Dr Aceng will be connected to a regional network through which the EAC member states and will be able to effectively track the patients before they interact with the community. 

//Cue in; “during this pandemic…  

Cue out; ….the member states.”//  

Last month, the East African Community developed a Regional Comprehensive COVID-19 Response Plan aimed at reinforcing measures to protect and prevent further spread of the virus in the region.

Some of the key interventions proposed in the plan are; risk communication and sensitization program and awareness creation, strengthening of the regional capacity for COVID-19 surveillance and reporting at all key border points, building regional capacity to support the Partner States on research, monitoring and coordination of preparedness to the pandemic among others things.

However, the plan according to Dr Aceng is not being implemented by some member states, saying that they have also asked the President Yoweri Museveni to ask other Heads of State to fast-track operationalization of the proposals.   

Dr Isaac Ssewanyana, the Laboratory Director at the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services says Uganda is now leveraging from existing capacities in managing other deadly viruses that have hit the country before, reinforcing response to COVID-19.

   

He explains that they are now working around the clock to set up modern laboratories at the main border points on entry to facilitate rapid testing of all travellers before they enter the country.

On Friday, the Ministry of Health and National Health Laboratory Services commissioned a Genexpert Laboratory at the Uganda-Tanzania border post of Mutukula to facilitate on-spot Covid-19 testing for all travellers.

Having the tests done and results got instantly at points of entrance will at according to Dr Ssewanyana save Uganda of the cross-border transition of the virus as they wait for member states to begin on-site testing of their drivers.

//Cue in; “we have managed…

Cue out….there lives.”//      

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 203 after 43 more people tested positive to the virus.

The new cases comprise 15 Ugandans, nine Kenyans and four Eritreans who entered the country through the Elegu border point. Six cases including five Tanzanians and one Burundian entered through Mutukula while five Kenyans, two Ugandans, one Burundian and one person whose nationality is unknown entered through Malaba.

The cases were part of 1,838 samples that were tested on Friday at Uganda Virus Research Institute and the Mutukula Point of Entry Laboratory.