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    FULL ADDRESS: Minister Aceng Warns Women To Stop Sleeping With Truck Drivers, Apologizes For Delay In Paying Allowances To Health Workers And Frontline Workers In The COVID-19 Response…

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    Dr Jane Ruth Aceng
    Minister of Health
    18thApri1, 2020
    Update on the COVID-19 response in Uganda
    18th April 2020- As you may all recall, Uganda registered her first case of COVID19 on Saturday 21 st March, 2020. As of today, the country has a cumulative number of 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19. All the confirmed cases were admitted in Entebbe Grade B hospital, Mulago National Specialized Hospital, Adjumani and Hoima Hospitals.

    To-date, 20 patients have been discharged; Entebbe Grade B (7), Mulago National Specialised Hospital (1 1), Adjumani (l) and Hoima (1), leaving a total of 35 active cases. Uganda has NOT registered any COVID-19 related deaths.

    Allow me in a special way to appreciate H. E the President of the Republic of Uganda for the swift and decisive way in which he has commanded and guided the national task force for COVID 19 including issuing the 35 guidelines for prevention of infection to the general public to follow and adhere to. His Excellency has addressed the public several times and repeatedly emphasized on prevention and suppression of transmission.
    I would also like to appreciate the Health workers at the frontline in this battle. You are doing a good job in spite of the challenges and you are highly valued.

    I cannot forget to thank the communities, the entire population of Uganda for your resilience, support and cooperation. The direction in which this pandemic will move in our country will be determined by you, your behavior, support and cooperation. I have no doubt that you have been listening to the President, following his advise and the guidelines given to you by the Ministry of Health and also listening to what is happening throughout the world and are ready to ensure that COVID19 does not spread to manageable levels in Uganda.

    Following the declaration of the 14 days Lock down, the Ministry of Health developed a lock down strategic plan with 6 action points aimed at combing the country to ensure that all potential sources of infection are identified, tested and managed accordingly.
    The Action plan included;
    I. Following up of contacts and alerts and testing all.
    Il. Testing all those in quarantine and discharging those who test negative and have not had another contact
    Ill. Supporting decentralization of surveillance and management of patients to the regional and district levels.
    IV. Enhancing risk communication to the regional levels, districts and the communities.
    V. Screening and testing of all incoming cargo drivers from the East African community area
    VI. Identifying, mapping and testing all returnees who came back between 7th and
    22nd March when the airport was closed.

    ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE COVID-19 RESPONSE DURING THE 14-DAY LOCK DOWN PERIOD

    I. Management of confirmed cases
    As of today, Uganda has a cumulative number of 55 confirmed cases. Of these, 20 have recovered while 35 are active cases. Please note that this is a cumulative number comprising recoveries. Active cases are the cases that still have the virus and are undergoing treatment at the respective health facilities.

    From the onset of the Pandemic to date, a total of 9,975 persons have been done, of which 9,920 are negative and 55 were confirmed positive.

    An analysis of the confirmed cases reveals the following; History of travel — 46 persons broken down as follows
    30 from quarantine sites
    5 directly from the Airport
    12 returned following the appeal to all those who returned from Dubai to come for testing
    1 truck driver from Malaba point of entry
    No History of travel — 7 persons, broken down as follows;
    7 contacts of returnees (l- Lwengo (UAE) I-Kyengera/Nkonkonjeru (UAE), l- Kyanja (UAE), I-Kayunga (Rwanda) and 1- Katabi (unknown bodaboda), 1 from Adjumani and I from Iganga.

    All staff in Entebbe hospital who have been taking care of the patients have been screened for COVID-19 and all tested NEGATIVE. This means they are appropriately following the Infection Control Procedures in the Isolationfacilities. A repeat test will be done after 2 weeks.

    Preparation of patients for discharge includes; counseling the community where the patient is going to avoid stigma and discrimination, psychosocial counseling to the discharged case, a 14-day follow up of the person to provide psycho social support and risk communication. The discharged patient with a discharge certificate, results slip of the last test and the SOPs of “DOs and DONTs”.

    Il. Follow up of Contacts and Alerts
    A cumulative total of 1,396 contacts to the confirmed cases have been registered since the declaration of the first confirmed case, 1,078 have completed their 14 days of follow up, screening and or testing. 317 contacts are still under follow up. So far, 1,246 (89%) contacts have been tested after 10 days of daily follow up.

    All contacts to confirmed cases are followed up daily by our surveillance officers for 14 days. If they develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19, they are tested and if found positive, isolated for treatment.

    Institutional Quarantine

    Institutional Quarantine was an intervention that greatly limited the spread of infection to the communities. In spite of the challenges, 30 of the cumulative 55 confirmed cases were identified from Institutional quarantine. The cumulative number of persons quarantined to date is 2,661 country wide. Currently, a total of 437 people are still under institutional quarantine. (30 in Entebbe, 53 in Kampala,
    354 in upcountry sites)

    Ill. High risk returnees
    A total of 18,860 high risk returnees between 7th 22nd March were identified through the information obtained from the flight manifest. From the 6th March to 16th March, several people were put under self quarantine and successfully followed up. Those who came in from the 17th to 22nd March, from the high risk countries were put under institutional quarantine. A good number came back following the call from the Ministry of Health to those who returned from Dubai. Of the 9,975 tests done to date, 2,878 are from the border points of entry, 700 are contacts and 6,397 are part of the high risk travelers. In total, over 8,000 people have already been identified and cleared. Others have been reached during follow up and contract tracing. The process of reaching out to the returnees is still ongoing with support from the Telecom companies.

    A Nose and throat swab and blood samples may be removed from the persons once reached depending on the assessment by the surveillance officers to rule out the possibility of asymptomatic infections. I request those not yet reached to be patient and cooperate for the exercise to be completed this coming week.
    Support to Districts and Regional Referral Hospitals to enhance their capacity to respond to the pandemic and offer basic medical services.

    Each district has been provided with funds to facilitate the various functions of surveillance, contact tracing, sample removal and testing, quarantine, risk communication and case management.

    Training of district and regional referral hospitals teams on COVID 19 preparedness and response is being rapidly undertaken. The exercise includes training of case management teams and setting up isolation facilities.

    Ministry of Health has deployed a team of four specialists per region comprising of a senior clinician, a senior Ministry of Health officer and two epidemiologists. These teams will carry out the following tasks o Train the regional and district health teams to build their capacity for handling cov1D19 cases.
    Support coordination of information and prompt reporting to the incident command center.

    Support the districts to carry out surveillance and contact tracing within the communities.
    Support risk communication activities throughout the parishes and villages by ensuring that the district leadership engages the village health teams o Support the districts to ensure smooth continuity of the other basic health services for all ailments.

    All districts and Regional Referral Hospitals have received protective wear, sample removal kits and other supplies to enable them safely remove samples and send for testing.

    V. Risk communication
    The district leadership is being supported to disseminate preventive messages and other Key messages related to Standard operating procedures for many areas as prepared by the health promotion and communication teams of the ministry of health and partners. These messages have been translated into 7 different languages. The districts are encouraged to use all channels of communication including the
    Village health teams to disseminate preventive messages information.

    VI. Screening and Testing of Cargo transporters
    The Ministry of Health began screening and testing truck drivers across the 53 Points of Entry. To-date, a total of 2,878 samples from truck drivers have been screened and tested, of these I Ugandan truck driver tested positive, while the other two were from Kenya and Tanzania respectively. On average, 2,500 trucks cross the border points daily. In light of the high numbers at the Points of Entry, the Ministry of Health working with the districts is training more health workers and will increase the number of health workers manning these points.

    The high numbers of truck drivers crossing into the country will require a substantial amount of test kits. Further discussions will be held with the East African community member countries on how to handle this area.
    I am aware that many of you have been questioning why we do not hold the truck drivers until their test results are returned.

    This is because;
    l. They are transporting critical supplies that could save many lives during this lockdown both locally and regionally
    2. If we hold them at the borders for a long time, crowding occurs. Crowding is a risk factor for transmission of COVID-19. Standard Operating procedures have been developed to allow for easy tracking of the truck drivers. They are also given the Do’s and Don’ts guidelines to follow and strictly advised not to interact with any of the communities along the way to their destination. Implementation of the above six strategies is still ongoing. Subsequently, on 14th April, following the end of the 14 days lock down period, H.E the President of Uganda declared an extension of the lockdown for an additional 21 days (14th April to 5th May).

    REMINDER OF WHY GOVERNMENT UNDERTOOK AN EXTENSION OF THE LOCK DOWN
    The purpose of a lockdown or extreme social distancing is to suppress transmission by reducing the number of people any undetected yet positive case in the community can infect.
    The goal is to ensure that each confirmed case infects less than one person, on average.

    Justification for the 21 day lockdown

    a) Evidence available from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in countries where Lock down was delayed or shortened (USA, Italy, Spain and other countries in Europe) compared to others (South Korea, Singapore, Hongkong, Japan and China) where Lockdowns were implemented early in the pandemic and prolonged for over 2 to 3 months shows a better outcome in countries where time was taken to fully implement activities which were identified to reduce suppression of the virus.

    b) The experience from the Asian countries that have flattened the curves or kept their infection rates very low shows that very strict tracking, testing and quarantining of exposed individuals and their contacts has a big impact on the spread of the disease at community level.

    c) The 14 days Lockdown strategy had only been partially implemented.
    d) Extreme social distancing measures for the un-infected people reduces the mixing with infected people and protects them as the surveillance system operates to track and quarantine all exposed individuals. More emphasis needs to be put on this.
    e) The lock-down reduced the pressure on the surveillance system and the health system by keeping the numbers low. The country must maintain the low numbers and low rates of infection.—when the numbers of exposed and infected individuals grows so fast, the stress on the system is huge and the system cannot cope as we have seen in several countries in Europe and USA where the response was initially slow. With the potential sources of infection still not fully identified and with the numbers of confirmed cases in the neighboring countries rising, it would be too soon to lift the Lockdown.

    What is Government doing in the 21 days of lockdown?

    Ministry of Health will ensure that all the six action points are implemented. Focus will be put on the following areas:
    Screening and testing all the Cargo transporters. Working with URA and Ministry of Transport, our surveillance officers have been oriented on how to track the cargo transporters. Standard operating procedures, Joint border clearance forms (JBCF) with details of the truck driver indicating his origin and destination have been developed for them to fill, truck routes have been mapped for the cargo transporters to follow without deviation and a tracking mechanism is in place for the surveillance officers to quickly track them and return them to the country of origin or quarantine them accordingly. Two (2) mobile PCR laboratories have been procured and will be received in the country tomorrow, Sunday 19th April 2020 and officially commissioned by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda. They will be deployed at the congested border points to quicken testing and return of results.

    I appeal to all of you who live along the roads followed by the truck drivers including the women who interact with them for different purposes to stay away from these truck drivers. During this period of Lock down, please do not accept visitors into your homes, not even neighbors, ensure adequate physical distancing with people who do not live with you every day. Stay at home, avoid trading centers and other business places because you do not know where your friend has been or whether he/she is safe. Those who defiantly use these trucks as a means of transport during this lockdown period are warned to stop these unlawful activities.

    Routinely test all health workers who are carrying out surveillance and managing COVID 19 positive patients in isolation. An inventory of health workers responding to this pandemic has been generated and testing has started and will be carried out every 7-14 days.

    Test all other incoming people like the UN staff who come to give support, identify illegal entrants into the country through the porous borders with support from the communities and test them Enhance risk communication to ensure everybody is aware about the potential danger of COVID 19. The Ministry of Health would like to hear from you on a weekly basis.

    The Ministry website and the twitter handle will publish an online survey to obtain feedback from you about our response.
    To ensure that the country is cleared of all pockets of transmission, the Ministry will carry out a rapid assessment survey focusing on previously known foci of transmission and points of congregation of trucks.

    Essential Medical Services

    I appeal to all health workers, and all health facilities to continue offering essential health services. Systems to facilitate patients to access services have been clearly communicated by H.E the President. KCCA should ensure that they publish all their routes and necessary phone numbers for the population in Kampala to access transport to health facilities. All the District Health Officers are again reminded to ensure that transport is available for the sick and vulnerable women and children to access health facilities. Ministry of Health is in the process of deploying the vehicles donated to the districts that are largely lacking transport facilities to support this process. Let us work together to provide the much needed services to our people and reduce the non-COVID related mortalities to avoid reversing the gains that we had made.

    Welfare of Health Workers and Frontline Workers

    The Ministry of Health regrets the delay in the payment of allowances to health workers and frontline workers in the COVID-19 response. We are in the process of ensuring that these allowances are swiftly paid after receiving bank account details of the health workers in this response from their respective supervisors.

    The Ministry will also ensure that health workers and frontline workers benefit from the donations to the COVID-19 response. This process has already started.

    Update on Research
    Scientists supporting Government in this response have prepared over 30 protocols for research to answer the some of the questions that we continue to ask as this is a new virus
    Lastly, I would like to, in a special way and with deep appreciation recognize the tireless efforts of the health workers, public, private not for profit and private service providers.
    The Ministry continues to appeal to the general public to remain calm and practice the preventive measures. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand rub at least three times a day, maintain a social distance of at least 4 meters and if you have flu like symptoms, cover your nose and mouth with a mask. To report any suspected cases of COVID-19, call the Ministry of Health toll free lines on 0800-100-066, 0800-203-033 or 0800-303-033. You can call the shorter toll free code on 919. Residents of Kampala are advised to call 0800-990-000 or 0204660-816.

    Thank you.
    Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng
    MINISTER FOR HEALTH
    18thApri1, 2020

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    NATIONAL

    FOR PRAISING M7: Medical Association President Steps Down To Allow Independent Investigations..

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    Dr. Oledo praising President Museveni at Kololo Grounds

    The President of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), Dr. Samuel Oledo, has stepped aside to allow independent investigations, according to Dr. Luswata Herbert, the Secretary General.

    Last week, during the Patriotism and Youth Investment symposium, Dr. Oledo appreciated President Museveni for the great job when he decided that all scientists must be paid well.

    “We request that you increase the salaries of our brothers and sisters in uniform, the soldiers, Uganda People’s Association (UPDF) prisons, and others.”

    He went ahead and knelt before Museveni and asked him to stand again 2026.

    This has since been condemned by a number of people who have termed his acts of kneeling as disrespectful to the profession and asked that he should resign.

    On 4th December, 2022, UMA released a statement disassociating themselves from the actions of their President Dr. Dr. Samuel Oledo and his Kololo team.

    Their statement read, “Uganda Medical Association is non-partisan and therefore does not participate in political activities of a partisan nature. The current U.M.A President attended the particular meeting in his personal capacity but not as U.M.A and
    his communications at that meeting were not representing the official position(s) of UMA.

    “Uganda Medical Association dissociates itself from any and all partisan political actions or acts, and is constitutionally required to do so. U.M.A is committed to remain neutral to and to serve all Ugandan doctors and persons from all the political dispensations of, and in Uganda and globally.”

    Dr. Oledo’s team of medical personnel with President Museveni

    Today morning, Democratic Party member and Buikwe South Member of Parliament, Lulume Bayigga said that Dr. Oledo should be brought to book.

    Lulume made these remarks while appearing on NBS’ Morning Breeze today following an incident where Uganda Medical Association (UMA) president, Dr.Oledo Samuel was seen kneeling before the president and asking him to stand again in 2026.

    Dr. Lulume noted that when they were in medical school, they were taught to be respected professionals and serve their country by treating people.

    “The engagement we wanted the UMA president to be part of would be to advocate for the improved welfare of the medics to serve the country better,” he said.

    Dr. Lulume added that the people who followed Dr. Oledu were not from Uganda Medical Association, and that’s why Dr. Mirembe is distancing herself from the act (endorsing President Museveni).

    Dr. Joel Mirembe, a doctor at the UMA noted that they are not against Dr. Oledu and just like the UMA statement noted, whatever he did, he did it in his own capacity and so they are here to protect the Association.

    He adduced, “It is sad that the doctors leadership body is invited to discuss a topic of political succession. That is where the issue is.

    “We have reached out to Dr. Oledu and he is okay and safe. He hasn’t commented about his action, he seems not concerned about what is happening.”

    Dr. Lulume however insisted that UMA will continue with its aspirations because it is Constitutional but what Oledo did scandalized the whole Association, and he must be brought to book.

    “Impeachment is one of the reprimanding measures, but the doctors will take the decision.”

    Dr. Mirembe adduced that Dr. Oledo is the President of the Uganda Medical Association, but what he did was embarrassing and wrong for the profession.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    CRIME

    Justice Minister Mao To Meet Security Council Over Drone Abductions And Kidnaps…

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    Minister Norbert Mao

    Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Nobert Mao revealed that he was appointed as Chairperson of cabinet committee on human rights.

    Mao made these remarks today while appearing at the 27th joint Government of Uganda-Development Access to Justice Annual review at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

    Speaking at the event, Mao revealed that he has been tasked with his committee to look into the recent rise in cases of alleged kidnaps and abductions of people, mostly those leaning on the political opposition.

    He said, “Myself and the Attorney General have been asked to meet the security council over the increased reports of abductions and kidnaps.”

    Mao vowed to reach out on all people with missing relatives or friends to give them more information about the disappearance of their people.

    “Once we have got the details, we shall be presenting them before the Security Council.”

    He added that the committee will institute a human rights desk where all complainants of missing persons will be reported for response.

    Mao adduced that once it comes to their attention, they have the capacity to trace that person using their cameras.

    “The issue shouldn’t be politicized because it is sensitive and touches people’s lives. If it’s true they are abductions, these may be conducted by disgruntled people within government with the view of tainting its good image.”

    Mao contended that they will ensure that they do better so that when they come back for the 28th time they give themselves marks.

    According to Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, this year’s review is being held against the background of a challenging year. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had probably challenging phenomenon, socially, economically and politically.

    He said, “Most specifically, the pandemic created unprecedented challenges and demands on access to justice community, but also tested the resilience and resolve of our coordination and collaboration model.

    “Our theme of the day is aligned with the national vision 2040 that seeks to consolidate the principles of governance, including constitutional democracy, protection of human rights, the rule of law, govt effectiveness and citizens participation in development processes.

    “President Eisenhower once said, peace and justice are two sides of the same coin. Let’s remember the need for both peace and justice, not just one of them.”

    Kiryowa further emphasized that all people with missing persons should report to them for a proper follow-up because they can’t act on allegations without facts and that he can’t follow up a case basing on rumours posted on social media.

    By Kalamira Hope

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    MY MONEY

    Kabaka Mutebi’s Siblings Hire M7’s Lawyers To Battle City Businessman At Supreme Court Over Juicy Mutungo Land….

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    The Administrators of the Estate of Sir Edward Walugembe Muteesa II, the former King of Buganda have hired President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni lawyers to battle city businessman Dr. Muhammad Buwule Kasasa at the Supreme Court over the juicy Mutungo land.

    theGrapevine has exclusively learnt that Kabaka Mutebi’s siblings led by Prince David Kintu Wasajja, Princess Dorothy Nassolo, Princess Sarah Kagere, on behalf of their family have instructed K&K Advocates, a law firm owned by President Museveni’s son-in-law Edwin Karugire and the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka to proceed with the appeal after losing at the Court of Appeal.

    Last month, three justices of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Christopher Gashirabaki, Justice Elizabeth Musoke, who has since been promoted to the Supreme Court and Justice Eva Luswata dismissed the appeal from the royals and declared Kasasa as the owner of the said land.

    The contested land is measuring 640 acres situated at Mutungo, Luzira hill in Nakawa Division Kampala district on Kyadondo Block 237 plot 39, 29, 48, 56, 67, 59, 69, 81, 82, 88, 111, 112, 114, 115, 142, 148, 150, 335, 97, 70, 138, 131, 154, 155, 178, 179, 388 and 410.

    Buganda royals claim that Kasasa grabbed their father’s land when he was exiled by former president Milton Obote in 1966 Buganda crisis.

    However, Kasasa has evidence that he bought the land legally from the bank after it was mortgaged by the registered owners then Lake View properties limited who bought the land from Muteesa himself during his broke days in exile in UK.

    theGrapevine has also established that Kasasa, through his lawyers of SK Kiiza & Company Advocates has protested the royal’s move to hire Museveni’s lawyers to present them at the Supreme Court citing conflict of interest.

    The lawyers claim that K&K Advocates cannot represent the petitioners when Attorney General Kiwanuka, a senior patner in the law firm, is a party in the appeal.

    The Attorney General was sued jointly with Kasasa and lawyers insist that his law firm cannot represent the other party.

    “We are of the strong view that as much as a party is at liberty to choose a lawyer, K&K Advocates is not a suitable law firm to represent parties who are at the same time suing the government through the Attorney General. Definitely, Kiryowa Kiwanuka the Attorney General would be conflicted in this matter,” Kasasa’s lawyers protested.

    Kiwanuka was not reached for a comment because he was not picking our calls by press time.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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