Uganda commissions Port Health COVID-19 laboratory at the main Uganda-Tanzania border point
19 May 2020
Mutukula, 19 May 2020: - The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng and State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties, Hon. Robinah Nabbanja commissioned the first Port Health laboratory at Mutukula border entry point shared by Uganda and Tanzania.
The laboratory equipment includes two GeneXpert machines capable of processing 64 COVID-19 samples per hour.
"All truck drivers arriving via Mutukula point of entry will be tested for COVID-19 and given results within 45 minutes," said Dr Aceng at the commissioning ceremony.
The two Ministers who were accompanied by the WHO Representative in Uganda Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam and the Country Director for the Centers for Disease Control, Dr Lisa Nelson also inspected the Mutukula Point of Entry point noting that it is porous and could lead to cross-border COVID-19 importation.
The border is marked by a narrow strip of marram road with people crisscrossing from either side, easily.
To mitigate this challenge, the COVID-19 District Taskforce (DTF) for Kyotera district was advised to strengthen Community surveillance using the Village Health Team system.
While addressing the district officials, Dr Aceng expressed concern for the rise in COVID-19 cases among truck drivers and urged them to utilize the community networks and structure adding that "the level of community involvement will determine the direction this pandemic ."
The WHO Representative, Dr Yonas, called for more vigilance- "Follow the guidelines, keep the disease at bay, protect the health workforce," he advised.
COVID-19 in Uganda
As of today, Uganda confirmed 260 cases of COVID-19. So far, 63 patients have recovered and have been discharged, while 57 patients