Two mentally unsound elderly women have caused uneasiness among
civil servants of Gulu City after pitching camp at the veranda of the City
The two have piled dirty and stinking rags, empty boxes, sacks,
plastic materials including source pans on the veranda of the City Hall. They
have turned the veranda into a place for cooking food.
While top city authorities have not paid keen attention to the new
visitors, several concerned workers have raised alarm against the unregulated presence of
the women saying they threaten the security of the people at the premises.
“Imagine, you can be absent at work and it’s swiftly noticed by
the supervisors, but the two mentally ill women have been here since the
beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and nobody is bothered,” one staff
who preferred anonymity told URN.
Caroline Alarokoma, a concerned youth in Gulu City says that the women are not
only causing discomfort to the workers but scare away visitors who come from
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Walter Tootika, another concerned resident of Pece-Laroo Division
observes that Chief Administrative Officer – CAO should intervene and seek the
intervention of the Gulu Mental Health Department to evacuate the intruders.
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Gulu District Secretary of Health and Community Based Services
Ballingtone Olweny P’Ongwech acknowledged that the trespass by the mentally ill
persons at their premises is a potential security threat to fire perils.
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Apart from the two, there are several people with mental health
problems who are wandering on the streets of Gulu.
Mental health disorder in the Acholi sub-region is largely
attributed to the two-decade-long civil war between the Lord’s Resistance Army
(LRA) and the Government.
Despite numerous attempts by Non-Governmental Organizations - NGOs
to rebuild the region, mental illness continues to ravage the post-conflict
population, coupled with domestic violence and poverty among others.
World Health Organization - WHO report of 2017 indicates that
mental health in Uganda is spiked by neurological and substance use disorders
which are a major public health burden. Depression, anxiety disorders, and
elevated stress levels are the most common, sometimes leading to suicide
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and latr Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.