Uganda: Govt Urged On Vulnerable Groups, Journalist Beaten

Human rights activists have appealed to government to adopt measures to support HIV patients and other vulnerable individuals in Lango Sub-region in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On March 31, President Museveni announced a two-week nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Uganda currently has 44 confirmed cases, according to the Ministry of Health.

However, people living with HIV/Aids in Lango Sub-region have appealed to government to reconsider their plight in accessing ARVs.

Mr Tom Odhiambo, the chairperson of persons living with HIV/Aids in Apac District, said Aids and other patients with critical conditions are facing challenges in accessing health services.

"Majority of us were using boda bodas to go to hospital to collect monthly dosages of ARVs. But now they are saying in case of emergency, people should call the office of the RDC, which is very difficult," Mr Odhiambo said.

Mr Hannington Okello, a councillor representing persons with disabilities in Apac, said the lockdown has left many persons with disabilities jobless and with nothing to eat.

Ms Grace Akite, a social worker at Mental Health Uganda Lira Association (MHULA), said many people with mental illness across Lango Sub-region cannot now access specialised services.

In Ntungamo District, joint security personnel beat up a Nation Media Group Journalist, Mr Rumanzi Perez, while on duty.

He had been assigned to cover the enforcement of the 7pm curfew imposed by President Museveni.

Mr Rumanzi, who is a Daily Monitor correspondent in Ntungamo, Rukungiri and Kanungu districts, was allegedly assaulted on Wednesday on Kaguta Road at 7:30pm.

He is receiving treatment at the Municipal Health Clinic after sustaining severe injuries.

Security officers also confiscated his camera after he declined to delete the pictures he had taken.

"As I took shots near the electricity transformer on the road, a group of six army men and two police officers approached me and accused me of taking pictures. They beat me and took my only camera," Mr Rumanzi said.

In Masaka District, the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), was yesterday overwhelmed by numerous numbers of people seeking movement permits in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

The RDC, Mr Herman Ssentongo, said he issued more than 200 permits to individuals who want to transport patients, expectant mothers and essential service providers.

50 motorcycles impounded

In Tororo District, police impounded motor cycles from different boda boda cyclists over defying the presidential directives.

The District Police Commander (DPC), Mr Rogers Chebene, said: "Last night, we impounded more than 50 motorcycles from the errant cyclists."

In Mbale District, the Ministry of Health has donated 22 motorcycles to health workers in the district to help in the fight against coronavirus.

Meanwhile, residents of Naluwoli Parish, Butansi Sub-county in Kamuli District have improvised a gong, similar to that used at schools to signal change of lesson, to beat the 7pm curfew.

Compiled by Malik Fahad Jjingo, Joseph Omollo, Olivier Mukaaya, Elly Katahinga, Bill Oketch & Isaac Otwii

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