Government Spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo has scathed the initiative by Opposition politician Dr Kizza Besigye to render assistance to patients that require emergency services during this period when health care workers are overstretched, calling it counterproductive.
Besigye announced on Sunday that his so-called People’s Government would provide assistance in transporting pregnant mother, children and other patients that need emergency care to hospitals.
From tomorrow, Monday, 30th March, the People’s Govt will provide emergency services (to hospitals) for people in need within Kampala Metropolitan area.
Briefing, training &equipping drivers has been successfully concluded.
Details on the flier below.
Together we shall overcome! pic.twitter.com/kFqlFUNQiA
— Kifefe Kizza-Besigye (@kizzabesigye1) March 29, 2020
A poster he shared on his social platform states that the People’s Government has set up emergency teams in Kampala Metropolitan Area to transport the elderly, people with disability, sick children and expectant mothers.
The message adds that for those suspected to have COVID-19, the teams will assist them to call the Ministry of Health response teams for evacuation.
However, on Monday, Ofwono Opondo poured cold water on the move by the political Opposition, labeling it counterproductive.
He said the plans by Dr Besigye and his team win be stopped.
“The government would like to inform all Ugandans that for COVID-19, responses are being coordinated by the OPM, Ministry of Health. Actions like (Besigye’s) are counterproductive and will be halted,” Opondo said on Twitter.
The government would like to inform all Ugandans that for #COVID19UG responses are being coordinated by the @OPMUganda @MinofHealthUG. Actions like👇are counterproductive and will be halted. @UgandaMediaCent. @PoliceUg @RuhakanaR @JaneRuth_Aceng pic.twitter.com/1z4zbRcnO7
— Ofwono Opondo P'Odel (@OfwonoOpondo) March 30, 2020
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health is relying on efforts of both the public sector, private sector as well as other players including politicians, to minimize the spread.
Last week, the Ministry wrote to Members of Parliament requesting for their ambulances to help in the fight against COVID-19.
In her letter dated March 26, 2020, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwiine noted that there is need for more ambulances to supplement government efforts to tracing and evacuating suspected cases to nearest treatment centres.
Contacted on Monday to comment on the gesture by Dr Kizza Besigye’s camp, Dr Atwine told SoftPower News that the Ministry is willing to work with all stakeholders. She was however quick to add that those who intend to tie their assistance to politics will not be welcomed.
“We welcome everyone who wants to help. Anyone is welcome. We have been working with private people. It only gets tricky when help is tagged to politics,” Dr Atwiine said.
“As long as we separate the politics and the gesture of helping”.