The ministry of Health announced on Friday that it had spent at least Shs 23.9 billion of the total sum contributed by the public to purchase double cabin pickups from Toyota.
The ministry’s PRO Emmanuel Ainebyoona said all districts will receive the purchased pickups which are currently undergoing registration.
“Part of the 282 double Cabin pick ups from Toyota bought using the Shs 23.9 bn part of Shs 29 bn donated by the public for COVID-19 support. Shipping for more pick-ups is underway. Currently undergoing registration and will be given to all districts soon,” Ainebyoona said in a tweet.
Ainebyoona added that the balance (which amounts to roughly Shs 5.7 billion, will be used to construct a blood bank at the Soroti Regional Referral Hospital estimated to cost Shs 3.3 billion while another Shs 2.4 billion will construct health facilities at Cyanika and Vurra.
According to the ministry, part of the fleet of the 282 double cabin pickups purchased from the COVID-19 response donation funds are in country.
The pickups were purchased at a tune of UGX 23.9Bn and will be used for surveillance, transportation of laboratory samples and follow ups.
To-date, 121 vehicles have been delivered while the rest are in transit and will be in-country soon and will be used for surveillance, transportation of laboratory samples and follow ups after being distributed to all districts.
The National Covid-19 Response Fund Donations Committee with guidance from H.E. The President of Uganda, approved the use of the UGX 29.6 billion as follows;
This was done because the country lacked vehicles for surveillance and transportation of samples and the WHO spent enormously on hiring vehicles which was not sustainable.
UGX. 3.3 bn to construct a Blood Bank at Soroti RRH and UGX. 2.4 bn for construction of Port Health Units at Cyanika and Vurra.
Procurement of contractors for the Port Health Units and Blood Bank is ongoing according to ministry of health.
However, the announcement has however attracted a lot of reactions from a section of Ugandans on social media, with many asking if pickups are the most important item as the country grapples with the second wave of the pandemic.
Many questioned the priorities of the Health ministry.
“We are home because of inadequate facilities, not vaccinated,no relief plans,thy want to cruise seriously
But lord why?…Find us ways to survive the monster (Covid-19),at least get more ambulances,” tweeted a one Rogers Ainomugisha
Another tweeted: “This money was meant to help out in the pandemic. How’re these double cabins gonna help apart from using them for personal gains like road trips to their farms?”
Senior Advocate, Mwesigye Samantha wrote: “These guys are really tone deaf! PPE myeee, front line workers are working in deplorable conditions, dying…”
Many called for the money to be invested in buying vaccines, and working on the country’s intensive care units, which according to reports, are in deficit