The Uganda People’s Defence Forces has joined Uganda Police Force and the Ministry of Health and other government agencies, to accelerate the evacuation of suspected cases of Coronavirus cases countrywide, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga has confirmed.
Enanga noted in a statement that the the UPDF and the Police are now working together under the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force (JTF) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
He said: “Uganda’s National Security Council has set up an Inter-Agency Joint Task Force (JTF) at National and Regional levels to support the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Combatting CODIV 19 epidemic in Uganda. The JTF is led by the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces’ (UPDF) Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi.
“The JTF comprises officers from the UPDF, Uganda Police Force (UPF), Uganda Prison Services (UPS), National Joint Intelligence Committee, Immigrations and Customs. Membership has also been extended to National Water and Sewerage Corporation, UMEME and KCCA,”
“At Operational level, the JTF is led by the Chief of Staff Land Forces, Maj. General Leopold Kyanda and it is stationed at the Police Joint Operation Centre in Naguru. The JTF coordinates direct support from the Agencies to the MOH; E.g. The UPDF and UPF are attaching 240 medical personnel to support the MOH, 40 of who are already deployed at Entebbe Airport and Mulago Hospital.
Col. Nakalema now commands Call centre
Following widespread complaints that calls from members of the public to the Ministry of Health’s provided toll-free lines were going unanswered, the government has addressed the gap by drafting senior army officers to provide back-up.
Reports reaching us indicate that Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, the Head of the anti-corruption desk in State House, is putting aside her graft investigations to lend support to the Ministry of Health to man the call centre.
According to Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine, the call centre has been expanded to be able to handle numerous calls coming from the public.
And judging by Nakalema’s tweets, the calls are indeed overwhelming.
The heightened level of response appears to be the right step in the right direction as the country undergoes a mini-lock down that is aimed at tracking all suspected cases of COVID-19 from across the country.
Besides lending support to Ministry of Health’s evacuation efforts, the Joint Task Force is charged with enforcing the President’s directives on banning public transport as well as a ban on sale on non-food items in markets.
The JTF has opened several lines to which the public can call them to alert officers about non-compliance regarding the president’s directives. These are on 0800300100 (Toll Free), +256713250391, +256753997665 and +256714012734.
On the other hand, people who are alerting the police about suspected cases have been advised to call +256772 831 993, +256772 510 522 and +256772 354 011.