PAKWACH. Lower health unit workers in Pakwach district are at risk of contracting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) due to inadequate protective gears.

Some of the key items that are inadequate in the district include; masks, gloves, testing kits, hand sanitizers and a gun thermometer to detect the temperature of patients in the rural health centres.

The concern arose following reports from the public that some health workers at Wadelai Health Centre (HC) III ran away from work on hearing that a patient suspected to have returned from Kenya came to seek for their services at the facility.

The health workers feared that they may end up contracting the disease due to lack of protective gears.

Though there has been no confirmed case in Pakwach, the district is still at high risk for being located at the gateway into West Nile and the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

At Alwi sub-county, the community members were left in panic on Wednesday after reports emerged that a soldier who had just returned from Afghanistan was freely interacting with the community without being quarantined.

But the report was later investigated by the district task force and found to be false.

At Pakwach HC IV, Dr Julian Afoyorwoth said the work on patients is going on normally as basic precautionary measures have been enforced.

"It's true that we haven't been availed with all the requirements to protect ourselves as health workers, we hope that will be done soon but now the fear is much because we even do not have aprons to wear to be distinguished from the patients," she said.

Afoyorwoth, however, added that there has been a challenge in enforcing social distance and good hygiene as some patients have a poor attitude towards the measures.

The Pakwach district coronavirus task force is enforcing strict guidelines like compulsory screening point at Pakwach Bridge and three makeshift tents as isolation centres at Pakwach HC IV, district headquarters and at Dei -Panyimur boarder.

The Pakwach district resident commissioner, Mr Swaib Toko who doubles as the head of the coronavirus task force said the committee is still cash strapped.

He said the district has adhered to the call by the President to centralize all government vehicles to the office of district health officer but due to financial constraint, fueling the vehicles is still a big challenge.

Toko said he has instituted a rapid response unit to verify documents of vulnerable people so that they can be helped in times of emergencies.

"I have assembled all the contacts of the officers in charge of lower health units so as to work closely with them on cases of emergency especially at night," he said.

The RDC urged the public to make good use of the lockdown by engaging in agriculture to avoid hunger in the future and recover from a recession.

Pakwach 04 04 20