The capacity of the toll-free call centre for alerts and assistance regarding COVID-19 has been scaled up with additional personnel that will work 24 hours a day, according to the Ministry of Health.
Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that the personnel at the call centre have been increased from 20 to 100.
It follows numerous complaints raised by the public regarding the efficiency of the helpline. Some have raised concerns relating to failure to go through and their complaints being ignored.
The toll free numbers availed by the Ministry for assistance are – 0800 100 066 or 0800 203 033 or 0800 303 033.
“We had challenges with our call centre. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Uganda, our toll free lines have been heavily congested and most callers are not able to get quick service or even going through. We acknowledge this concern and we are sorry about it,” Dr Mwebesa told reporters on Wednesday.
He said Health has partnered private companies including MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda, Communication for Development Foundation Uganda, Maries Stopes Uganda and National Information and Technology Authority (NITA-U) to improve the service.
“So, we have increased the capacity of our call centre to handle more calls at the same time and this will be effective this evening. The number of call centre agents has been scaled up from 20 to 100 and these will work 24 hours daily,” he said.
“We shall have 100 people divided in three shifts working on our call centre everyday. But also the lines coming in the capacity of our centre has been heavily increased’.
He encouraged the public to continue to use the toll free numbers – 0800 100 066 or 0800 203 033 or 0800 303 033 – to reach surveillance teams for assistance.
For districts far from Kampala, the Ministry has generated a list of District Health Officers and District Surveillance Focal Persons along with their telephone contacts and this list will be circulated to the general public to report alerts.
“Someone Amudat or Kisoro should not have to call to Kampala. We are decentralizing this alert system. The district officials will assist you in any way possible. If they find that your case requires central intervention, they will be the ones to alert us,” Dr Mwebesa said.
He reminded the public to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, maintain social distance of at least 2 metres and to isolate self if one presents with cough and flue.