Moroto rivers becoming death traps for residents

Five people including a toddler drowned in different rivers in Moroto district last week. On Monday, 35-year-old, Lokwii Nabimu drowned with her one-year-old child identified as Lokol Lokiru at Apule River, just a few kilometers from Moroto town.

On Wednesday, an elderly woman from Kidepo-Pupu in Rupa Sub County also drowned at Komatheniko River on her way from trapping white-ants.

On Saturday evening, a minor only identified as Arichu was swept away at Tangadel River in Rupa Sub County while returning from grazing animals.

Dan Manjori Apollo, the Rupa sub county chairperson, says most of the victims are swept while attempting to cross the rivers as they return home.

He notes that people sometimes underestimate the speed of the flowing water and risk crossing, only to be overpowered by the water.

Peter Ongwara, the Moroto District Police Commander, says one other woman was swept away in Tapac Sub County by the fast moving rain waters.

He however, told us that police findings indicate that some locals take advantage of the flowing rivers to commit suicide. Citing Lokwii Nabimu who was swept away with her child on Monday, Ongwara said the victim developed a misunderstanding with her husband before running to drown in Apule River.

By the time of filing this story, none of the bodies had been recovered by police. Ongwara says the water flow is very fast, which makes it difficult to rescue anyone carried by water.

With sloppy terrain consisting of seasonal rivers, cases of people drowning are common in different parts of Karamoja during the rainy season. The flowing rivers don’t only sweep people but also vehicles.




Blame game ensues as Moroto district loses Hepatitis B Vaccines worth 900 Million

Moroto district health officer, Dr Abubaker Lubega, may be in trouble after the Hepatitis B vaccines worth 900 million shillings expired in the stores.

The expiry of drugs has caused a rift between Dr Lubega, the district leadership and members of staff in the district health department.

Information obtained by URN indicates that 18,000 doses of Hepatitis B vaccines were exposed to high temperatures leading to their expiry.

Peter Amei, who’s in charge of disease surveillance in the district on Wednesday openly blamed Dr Lubega for reportedly ignoring the advice given by the cold chain manager on the storage of drugs. Amei said the cold chain manager requested for money several times to improvise alternative power source for the vaccines in case of electricity shortage but it was turned down.

But Dr Lubega in an interview with URN blames his staff for negligence and breakdown of the cool chain system. He says the expiry of vaccines in stores was a deliberate move by the cold chain manager in order to cause him problems. He explains that the power equipment was vandalised by some of the staff that he declined to name.

Peter Ken Lochap,  the RDC Moroto says he asked police to investigate the matter and and have the responsible officers brought to book. He notes that the negligence by officers has not only affected the community but also government which has incurred a great loss.

Karamoja region has the highest prevalence rate of Hepatitis B at 23 percent in the entire country followed by Lango and Acholi with 19 percent according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.

Whereas a good number of people have been vaccinated against Hepatitis B, thousands others are yet to complete their doses.




Two inmates die in Moroto central prisons

Two inmates from Moroto central prisons died last week due to various illnesses. 37-year-old Moton Lomoru from Napak district died on March 8th 2017 at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital.

Another inmate, Boiboi Apaakori aged 50-years died the next day at the same hospital. A highly placed source Moroto Regional Referral Hospital told URN that both inmates were admitted on March 6th with different conditions.

According to the source, Lomoru had severe anaemia with bilateral Deep Vein Thrombosis  (DVT) while Apaakori had respiratory complications and DVT. Deep Vein Thrombosis  refers to a blood clot that occurs in the deep veins of the arm or leg, according to medicine net an online health information portal.

Dr. Fiona Lalango who treated the inmates, says they are yet to decide what caused the blood clot since they lack the tools to investigate such cases. She notes that three inmates with similar conditions were rushed to Kampala for further management.

William Awany, the Officer in Charge of Moroto Central Prisons declined to comment on the death of the inmates, saying he was on his way to Lira for the burial of his brother.

Uganda Prisons Spokesperson, Frank Baine denied the death of inmates. He however, said there was some cases of Hepatitis B in the hospital.

Geoffrey Mawa, the Principal Administrator Moroto Regional Referral Hospital, says the bodies of the inmates were buried in Moroto municipal council mortuary on Sunday.





Moroto teacher suspended over breastfeeding child at school

A female teacher at Child Jesus primary school in Moroto municipality is in trouble for breastfeeding her three- months- old baby at school. Agnes Nate was given a two week’s suspension by the head teacher, Sr. Rosario John Masawe last week.

Her suspension follows a resolution by the school management on February 11, 2017 deterring breastfeeding mothers from keeping their babies at school. According to information obtained from the school, management asked breastfeeding teachers not to bring their babies into the school compound.

Some of the teachers say although management bars them from breastfeeding their children at school, it doesn’t allow them to dash back home and breastfeed them children during break time. A breastfeeding a teacher at the School told URN on condition of anonymity that she is contemplating weaning her seven-month- old baby so as to cope with the new regulations.

She expresses fear for the life of her son, who she says is sickly since he doesn’t breastfeed regularly because of the new school regulation. Another teacher on maternity leave also told URN on condition of anonymity that she is considering quitting her job after learning about the new school policy. She feels the new changes are cruel to her one and half month old baby.

Sr. Rosario John Masawe, the head teacher Child Jesus Primary school, says management arrived at such a decision following an inspection report by health experts, which revealed that the school was vulnerable to infections due to poor hygiene and sanitation from the baby attendants. She however, says mothers can check on their children at home with permission from the school administration.

Samuel Ewangu, the Chairperson Uganda National Teacher’s Union Moroto Central branch, says they are investigating the case and will come up with recommendations after consulting with their top bosses in the region.

Ewangu says such harsh rules from the administration affect the teacher’s concentration in class, which in turn affects performance.

Emma Longoria, the Moroto Labor Officer has condemned the suspension of the teacher and promised to follow up the matter.

The Uganda Policy guidelines on infant and young children feeding 2007, provides the framework for enhancing the nutrition, health, growth and development of infants and young children, as well as strengthening care and support for their parents/caretakers to achieve optimal infant and young child feeding.

Its notes that breastfeeding is a traditional practice in Uganda and the majority of mothers initiate and maintain breastfeeding for long periods. “Under normal circumstances, an infant should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life,” reads the guideline.






Bobi Wine to stage a mega show at Ushs 500, yes Ushs 500

Oh it doesn’t look like ghetto president Bobi Wine will stop anytime soon. On Monday night Bobi posted photos of him in Karamoja and captioned them,

“I travelled 11hours on road today to ‪#‎Karamoja‬ for the first time. What’s funny is that the last time I was supposed to perform here, I wanted a lot of money coz it was too far ,and when the promoter failed to raise the money, I cancelled the trip. However, this time around I came for free to collaborate with @VivaConAgua on a ‪#‎water‬ and ‪#‎Sanitation‬ project. I am meeting artists from around the world who have come to support this cause. After the workshops tomorrow, we shall give Karamoja the mother of all concerts at the Moroto Boma Grounds. Entrance fee is ‪#‎200shs‬ for children and ‪#‎500Shs‬ for adults. All proceeds support local ‪#‎VivaConAgua‬ water and sanitation projects.” -Bobi Wine

The ghetto Gladiator is finally doing something beneficial for the people in Karamoja at almost no price.

Of late Bobi Wine has been in the news over his political  idealogies that have led many of his fans especially on social media to continuously compare him with long time adversary , Bebe Cool.

Kudos Bobi glad to know that you are now focusing on giving back to communities.

Police saves 13 year old girl from being married off

Police in Moroto have rescued a 13-year-old girl from being married off to an elderly man in Loyarikarimoe village in Nakadeli parish in Rupa Sub County.

13-year-old Angelina Keem was scheduled to be married off by her family to an unidentified 62-year-old man, in a traditional marriage on Thursday.

However, Police stormed the marriage ceremony in time, and rescued the minor. Keem told URN that her brother approached her in a restaurant where she was working in Moroto town on Monday and duped her that their mother had died.

As a result, Keem packed her belongings and rushed home to catch up with the burial. According to Keem, when she arrived home, she was instructed by her family to accept her suitor who had been waiting in her parent’s hut.

So far 11 people including Keem’s father, Lokut Kwadomo and his son Lochap Lokul are in custody at Moroto Central Police station.

Richard Aruk Maruk, the Mt. Moroto Regional Police Commander says by the time Police arrived at the scene, the girl’s parents were about to receive 20 cows.

Jimmy Lomokol, the In-charge of the Private Sector in Karamoja urges parents to send their children to school instead of marrying them off at a young age.

Uganda ranks 15 among the countries in the world with the worst cases of child marriages.


ON DUTY: European Union Election Observation Mission in Uganda Team

Following an invitation from the Government of Uganda, the European Union has established a mission to observe the 18th February General Elections. The Chief Observer of the Election mission is Mr. Eduard Kukan, a Slovak member of the European Parliament. The mission comprises around 120 observers from all EU countries, as well as Norway.

The EU Mission in Uganda says a credible national voters’ register is key to a transparent election. Marian Gabriel, the Deputy Chief Observer at the EU Election Observation Mission 2016, says the Electoral Commission must ensure that the voters’ register is accurate and void of scrutiny from the opposition and the electorate.

Marian says the biometric system is one of the steps the EU Observer Mission thinks will provide safeguards against fraud during the 2016 general elections.

Marian was speaking at the dispatch of thirty EU long-term observers who will be monitoring the campaign period in the run up to the February 18 polls and after.

Thirty EU long-term Observers, grouped in two-person teams, departed yesterday from the Election Observation Mission’s headquarters in Kampala to their respective areas of responsibility across the country.

“They will be observing all aspects of the electoral process in their duty areas, meeting with election officials, candidates and civil society representatives. They will report back to the core team in Kampala and the information they provide will be the basis for the mission’s assessment”, said Mr. Marian

The observers will be based in Kampala, Mityana, Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kabarole, Masindi, Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Moroto, Mbale and Jinja districts.

Closer to Election day, around 80 short-term observers will join the mission. Two days after the election, a Preliminary Statement will be presented by the Chief Observer in a press conference.

Marian says the observers will focus on the presidential and parliamentary campaigns to monitor media access to candidates and the role of security forces in the elections, among others.

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