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Elegu Gets Mobile Laboratory to Accelerate Testing of Truck Drivers

The lab is expected to be equipped with modern technology for testing and diagnosing most pathogens in addition to providing safe, accurate and timely results of COVID-19 from the East African bloc.
19 May 2020 15:09
Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health assessing the Amuru District COVID-19 response activities in Elegu One Stop Border Post- Photo by Dominic Ochola.
Elegu One-Stop Border Post in Amuru District has been allocated one mobile laboratory to accelerate testing of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) among truck drivers. The lab is expected to be equipped with modern technology for testing and diagnosing most pathogens in addition to providing safe, accurate and timely results of COVID-19 from the East African bloc.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health says that the allocation is in response to the recent situation assessment in Elegu that indicated a dire need for better working atmosphere for the health workers conducting the screening of high human traffic at the Uganda - South Sudan border. She says that the government has acquired three mobile labs to be deployed in three border entry points of Malaba, Mpondwe and Elegu with high human traffic.

Amuru District Health Officer, Dr Patrick Odong Olwedo lauded the Ministry’s intervention saying it will complement the ongoing efforts of testing hundreds of cargo truck drivers and border community easier and quicker. Dr Olwedo said that currently, with inadequate human resource, the district has deployed only 13 health workers who oversee the screening of over 1000 truck drivers at the border on a daily basis.

Michael Lakony, the District Chairperson, also Chairperson Resource Mobilization for the District Task Force argued that the allocation was long overdue in fast-tracking COVID-19 through on-site testing. He says that once installed, the mobile laboratory will also lessen the time to transport samples to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe which is over 450 kilometres away and ensure proper resource utilization.

Since the declaration of the national lockdown in March, at least 20 confirmed cases of truck drivers with the virus disease were intercepted in Elegu. They were all evacuated to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital for treatment.