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Karamoja Border Districts Seek COVID-19 Surveilence Vehicles

There are four border districts in Karamoja including Moroto, Amudat, Kaabong and Karenga which share a common border with South Sudan and Kenya. However, as South Sudan and Kenya register more COVID –19 cases, there are growing concerns of importation of the virus through the border posts in Karamoja.

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The porous borders in Karamoja sub-region have remained a point of concern for the COVID-19 District Taskforces as authorities increase border controls, overstretching available resources.

There are four border districts in Karamoja including Moroto, Amudat, Kaabong and Karenga which share a  common border with South Sudan and Kenya. However, as South Sudan and Kenya register more COVID –19 cases, there are growing concerns of importation of the virus through the border posts in Karamoja.

The communities of Toposa and Turkana which have close ties with the Karimojong communities confirmed their first cases last week. But the district authorities say that they are overstretched, and do not have enough manpower and resources to respond to the emergencies.

Kaabong Resident District Commissioner John Rex Achilla says there is a high risk of transmission of the virus from South Sudan or Kenya because of the porous border. He said because of the social and economic factors such as marriage, trade and services, more Kenyan and South Sudan nationals were always attempting to illegally enter into the country, hence putting the communities at risk of catching the virus.  He said the task force was strained in terms of transport.

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He said other districts like Amudat, Karenga and Moroto which are very close to Turkana where one case has been confirmed positive, lack adequate transport is a challenge in responding to emergencies.

Moroto RDC Peter Ken Lochap says the health department was struggling with only one vehicle which is not even in good condition. He appeals to the National Taskforce to allocate some vehicles to Moroto and other border districts in Karamoja to boost the response mechanisms in the districts.

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The leaders were speaking on Sunday during a meeting with State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda also a member of the COVID-19 National Taskforce.

Kiwanda who was on an assessment drive of the Karamoja border districts says he was impressed by the deployment of health and security personnel at Moroto’s Nakabbbat border post that handles an average of 30 small trucks on a daily basis. The trucks come in mostly from Turkana county, in western Kenya.

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