PAKWACH VILLAGE CHAIRPERSONS TOLD TO USE NEW BICYCLES FOR EBOLA AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
By Goodluck Musinguzi
PAKWACH: MONDAY, November 06, 2022
The Village and Parish council chairpersons in Pakwach district have been told to intensify the Ebola awareness campaign following the provision of new bicycles by the local government ministry and translated fliers on Ebola by the Ministry of Health.
Insha Ntumbwa, the deputy Resident District Commissioner Pakwach, presided over the handover of the 583 bicycles and template translated into Alur local language on how Ebola spreads and how to prevent it.
He emphasized to the chairpersons to inform the public to rapidly report suspected cases for quick response.
Ntumbwa also tasked the village chairpersons in the catchment areas of Panyimur, Pakwach sub-county, Wadelai and Panyango to be more vigilant due to their susceptibility to strangers accessing their villages via the porous borders and through the lakes
“We are handing these bicycles today, not as a reward but mainly to mobilize the community in your area to fight against the Ebola disease. With these translated manuals on Ebola, start immediately to sensitize the masses in the language they understand,” the deputy RDC said.
The village chairpersons appreciated the transport support to ease their movement but appealed for capacity building to increase their knowledge on Ebola to properly sensitize the community.
Norman Opoki, the village chairperson of Dei East bordering Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, expressed fear that a section of the community plying their trade on lake Albert, particularly from Wanseko and part of DRC may import the virus as they mostly move at night.
Opoki said there was a need to beef up security surveillance on lake Albert and along the borders with DR Congo alongside efforts on grassroots sensitization.
Opoki also asked the health department to provide the local council chairperson with gloves and face masks to enable them to execute their assigned duty safely.
“We appreciate the provisions of the bicycle and we are ready to go by our assigned task however our worry is we are not experts on the health issues, especially this deadly Ebola. Therefore, we are requesting the government to induct us and provide other logistics such as hand gloves,” Opoki appealed.
With laxity in most of the villages on registering newcomers including tenants and migrant farmers, Steen Omito, the Pakwach district LC5 chairperson implored the village councils to reintroduce registration databases for easy contact tracing of Ebola suspects.
Omito said that Pakwach district has already taken measures to control unnecessary crowded events, discourage communal burial from suspected Ebola cases and encouraged the village chairpersons to spread this message to the community.
“As you start this important exercise, let’s involve the health workers where there are deaths suspected of Ebola and importantly discourage community crowding,” Omito emphasized.
Pakwach district is the gateway to West Nile through the Pakwach Bridge, presenting a challenge of the influx of visitors and long-distance travellers who may be exposed to the contagion.
Moses Abdul, the village chairperson of Kamana A Village in Pakwach town council, urged the authorities to involve lodge and bar owners in the sensitization drive and monitoring of new visitors.
“Ebola, according to the template provided to us also spreads through body contact. As village chairpersons, our hands are tied in tracing who slept where and with who. So, we are appealing for the involvement of the lodge owners to tackle this disease together with the same action plan,” Abdul reiterated.
However, Paul Ajal, the Pakwach District Health Officer, applauded the office of the RDC for working together with the village chairpersons and asked them to use the translated manuals on Ebola without distorting the message to avert misconception by the community.