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Island Communities Oblivious of COVID-19 Control Measures

No resident is using a facemask at Lufu and Yuwe islands, which are located between eight and 10 kilometres from the main island of Buvuma. They still meet in groups, for drink ups and other social gatherings, with no physical distancing measures and no fear of a possible outbreak of coronavirus disease.
Residents at Lufu island found drinking malwa in a group.

Audio 3

Residents at outlying islands of Buvuma district are reluctant to implement any of the measures put in place to control the spread of COVID-19. 

No resident is using a facemask at Lufu and Yuwe islands, which are located between eight and 10 kilometres from the main island of Buvuma. They still meet in groups, for drink ups and other social gatherings, with no physical distancing measures and no fear of a possible outbreak of coronavirus disease. 

Three of the pharmacies in the area have placed handwashing stands at the entrance. But their use is not mandatory and people pass by without using them, as both area residents and leaders seem unbothered about the disease which has paralyzed almost every corner of the world.    

The Officer in charge of the area police post, Peter Ndhokomoror says that authorities have constantly sent reminders to the population in the area to take caution in vain. Lufu island has a population of about 2,000 people. 

Eleazor Gonja, a resident and member of the Village Health Team -VHT at Lufu says most of the residents are jobless which makes enforcement of some of the guidelines impractical. He pointed out the use of facemasks as a cost many would love to avoid. 

//Cue in; “Nga bwomanyi… 

Cue out…tukoze ogwaffe.”// 

At the other island; Yuwe, with a population of 1000 people, youths are seen in groups playing cards and other table games. Those who talked to Uganda Radio Network stated that COVID-19 is the least of their worries because they were unsure about its existence, especially in their community. 

The LCI Chairperson of Yuwe island James Wabwiire says they agreed with the community to avoid new entrants at their island and allow locals to live a normal life.  

However, URN learnt that several boats transport traders from the same island to Jinja and Mukono districts from where they purchase goods and return to the same area,  exposing themselves to the risk of infections. 

Recently, a joint committee of RDC’s from within the districts of Mukono, Buvuma, Jinja and Buikwe agreed to set up screening centres at the major landing sites of Masese, Kiyindi, Ssenyi, Katosi and Kikongo to examine people travelling to the scattered islands. However, none of the screening points is currently functioning. 

Buvuma Deputy Resident District Commissioner Juma Kigongo says that the task forces of the various districts around Buvuma lack funds to maintain the screening centres yet monitoring residents at different islands also remains expensive. He says they are negotiating with higher authorities to increase security and enforcement. 

//Cue in; “I am also…  

Cue out…of healthy guidelines.”// 

Buvuma County Member of Parliament Robert Migadde faults the government for abandoning island districts yet they share common borders with countries like Tanzania and Kenya where COVID-19 INFECTIONS were reported to be on a spiralling trend.  

//Cue in; “In this COVID-19…

Cue out…facilitating police.”//