Businesses in Kitgum Municipal seems back to normal with hundreds of people on the street whole day. Youths playing cards, doing mock fight etc can also be seen even when 1 case of Covid-19 was already identified in Kitgum Municipal.
Kitgum and Kitgum Municipal has a dual edge when it comes to infectious disease outbreaks. Given that we are a border district and a major commerical centre to South Sudan it means the spread and transmission of infectious disease through increased human contact can be high.
Kitgum Municipal have roughly 48 thousand people living in a highly congested places with concentration of urban poor and deep inequalities among the population e.g places like; West Land, Acut Omee, Ogwal Woo, Ayul A etc. are potentially more vulnerable than those that are better resourced, less crowded, and more inclusive.
Precisely because of this and also the fact that Kitgum is a border district and Kitgum Municipal is a hubs for commerce and mobility, there are numerous factors that could amplify the pandemic risk.
Kitgum District and Kitgum Municipal leadership should also play a central role in preparing for, mitigating and adapting to pandemics. In fact, many of the norms and rules for municipal to manage infectious disease should be effected forthwith as preventive measures alongside the ministry of health guidelines.
Ultimately, the hardware of pandemic prevention in Kitgum District and Kitgum Municipal should improve through having a dynamic functional surveillance systems, concrete evacuation plan since we have insufficient health care services to ensure effective pandemic response and the major software should be proper education/sensitization of masses and close collaboration between qualified doctors, nurses and others health workers.
Otherwise, a lack of governance, poor planning and decentralized health care systems can undermine pandemic response which will generate confusion and fear.
Kitgum’s preparedness shall depends on it’s capacity to prevent, detect, respond and transport the patients to regional referral hospital and this means there is need to have action plans, staff and budgets in place for rapid response.
The ability to communicate and implement emergency response plans is also essential, as is the availability, quality and accessibility of hospitals as per Ministry of Health guidelines.
The lesson from this pandemics are on surveillance ‘s investigative capacities, transportation systems and, importantly, the right kind of leadership in place to rapidly take decisive action.