James Onono Ojok, the University’s Assistant Public Relations Officer disclosed to URN that following closure of education institutions by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on May 7, public demand especially from the returning students overstretched the facility and exhausted the available resources.
Gulu University Laboratory is facing a stock out of kits amid
growing public demand for COVID-19 testing.
The 4.5 million dollars laboratory is among the 15 other
labs accredited by the Ministry of Health and Uganda Virus Research Institute –
UVRI. The laboratory draws test samples from Kitgum, Agago, Gulu, Pader, Lamwo,
Omoro, Nwoya and Amuru districts in the Acholi sub-region.
Dr Richard Echodu the Laboratory Director reveals that the laboratory can run
1,000 test samples in 24 hours.
The University was granted 2.5 Billion Shillings from the United
Kingdom Research Council which was used for the procurement of 25,000 test kits
to benefit the refugee community in Lamwo and Adjumani Districts.
But James Onono Ojok, the University’s Assistant Public Relations
Officer disclosed to URN that following the closure of education institutions
by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni demand for testing especially from the
returning students overstretched the facility and exhausted the available
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The Regional COVID-19 Focal Person Janani Loum reiterated that
there was a sharp demand from parents to have thousands of students who
returned home to be tested.
On Monday this week, up to 561 students turned up to be tested at
the University out of which 100 of them turned positive. With other members of
the public turning up for the same in big numbers, it overwhelmed the available
However, Stephen Odong Latek, the Resident District Commissioner
who doubles as the Task Force Chairperson said they have notified the Ministry
of Health and National COVID-19 Task Force to reinforce their efforts with new
stock supplies to help combat the pandemic.
The multi-complex laboratory was constructed with a subsidy from
the African Development Bank and commissioned by President Yoweri Kaguta
Museveni in January 2020. It is being operated by 16 staff, three of whom
are PhD holders in medical laboratory technology.
The Gulu Task Force has tested over 1,000 samples since the
lockdown and over 150 samples turned positive, many of whom are being treated
from home through home-based care.
Up to 11 patients have died from Gulu Regional Referral Hospital
Treatment Unit following the resurgence of cases from the new wave of the
COVID-19 pandemic in the country.