By Moses Gisa
With media reports from Uganda indicating that plans are in high gear to turn the country’s biggest stadium, Namboole, into a hospital, analysts say this is “indicative that the Covid-19 situation is getting out of hand.”
This Tuesday Uganda’s national Inter-Agency Joint Task Force on Covid-19 visited Mandela International Stadium (Namboole) to assess the progress of the works to have the 40,000-seater stadium ready to received Covid-19 patients. Security forces have been briefed on their role in keeping the stadium out of bounds to the public as the government anticipates more cases when the facility begins operating.
But, according to confidential sources, “the secretiveness around Namboole, with armed soldiers not allowing anyone to get close, shows things are nor good at all.”
Others have said, “The government is running out of options to curb the spreading of the pandemic. Cases have been on a hike with the latest official statistics showing 805 confirmed cases.”
But institutions like World Health Organization have been disputing these figures, saying there are more. WHO’s records for, instance, indicate all cases that tested positive on Ugandan territory, while the government has for instance been deducting foreign truck drivers that tested positive.
Over a thousand truck drivers from Kenya or Tanzania in recent months were reported by Ugandan media to have “disappeared into Ugandan communities before getting tested in the last three months.”
According to the Kenya Truck Drivers association last month, its members were receiving “very unfair”, and “even inhuman treatment in Uganda,” because there would be long delays waiting to get tested, yet there would be no doctors at border points like Malaba and Busia, so what could they do!”
“To see Uganda getting prepared to turn Namboole into a giant hospital is a consequence of these, and similar events such as hundreds of people that entered Entebbe and left without test or quarantine, even those from the most high-risk countries,” social media personalities in Uganda have been commenting. Late last March, personnel, the Ugandan Health Ministry said “up to five hundred Ugandans from Dubai alone” had entered the country in this way.
The Ugandan president on his part has been reporting the situation as “under control.”
On the ground, however, in several hospitals medical staff are said to be contracting Covid-19, and patients lying in hospitals unattended to.