Donated COVID-19 cash to be used to set up blood banks – Dr Atwine

Dr Diana Atwine
Dr Diana Atwiine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Health received a total of Shs 29 billion from donations by the private sector to facilitate activities aimed at stopping further spread of COVID-19, the Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry Dr. Diana Atwine has said.

Rubbishing claims that the money couldn’t be accounted for, Dr Atwine said part of the money will be used to set up structures at border points which will serve as health worker accommodation facilities and that some of the money will be used to commence construction of blood banks in Arua and Soroti districts.

Dr Atwine says as per the requirement by the Public Finance Management Act, they had to keep the collections on the consolidated account till last week when the money was released back to them.

It should be noted that the appeal to donate was first made in the early days of the pandemic in 2020 where President Yoweri Museveni urged corporate companies and investors to help the COVID-19 taskforce with especially vehicles to help frontline workers move since they had declared a lockdown on public transport.

Apart from things like food stuffs and personal protective equipment for health workers, a  number of companies donated vehicles in kind and others money meant for purchase of vehicles.

Blood shortage hits Masafu Hospital in Busia district
Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood due to shortage.

Dr Atwine says they haven’t diverted from the initial purpose and notes that they are to purchase a few vehicles and the rest of the money will used to revamp port health with challenges that came clear at the height of the pandemic when they struggled to maintain key health workers in the same place.

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When it comes to donated vehicles, she says they have been deployed for COVID-19 sample collection and surveillance.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that the number of COVID-19 cases have greatly reduced with 54 new cases registered yesterday and only 44 people being in admission in hospitals across the country. In total, Uganda has had a cumulative 41,016 people testing positive and 335 deaths.

Experts however warn that soon the country will be experiencing a second wave that will have a lot of people getting infected. This wave, experts warn should get the country guarded.