April 13, 2020 at 3:59 pm #204941Free UgandaKeymaster
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has dismissed claims that it carried out tests on 25 tonnes of relief food supplied by Nile Breweries, a wealthy beer brewery in the country.
“UNBS is deeply concerned about the inaccurate and misleading media reports circulating online, alleging that UNBS tested and cleared food samples from Nile Breweries Limited,” the standards enforcement body said in a statement on Easter Monday.
Minister Betty Amongi was yesterday quoted by online news platform, as saying the food donated by Nile Breweries was not safe for human consumption.
Amongi said “we regret and have withdrawn that food immediately from the community where it had been supplied.”
She further explained that community members in the poor slum of Kinawataka Jambula Zone had been apologized to and given proper food from the government.
However, NBL on Sunday said it had “started a broad scale sampling and testing of the maize flour product donated.”
It added: “The product in the initial tests was meeting the standards but given the intricacies of handling and fine distribution, broader testing is needed. We are working closely with government and the supplier to fully understand the situation.”
NBL’s statement underscored its inability to enforce high standards for its food donations.
It’s reported that NBL top executives quietly apologized to the Prime Minister over the scandal.
UNBS threw the spanner in the works, saying it never tested the donated food.
“UNBS would like to inform the public that as of 8th April 2020, 11 samples of donated food items were submitted to UNBS laboratories for testing and none was from Nile Breweries Limited. It is therefore grossly inaccurate to say that UNBS cleared Nile Breweries Limited’s flour/posho,” UNBS said in its statement today.
The purpose of Nile Breweries LTD ‘Bringing people together for a better world’ remains as relevant ever in these challenging times. 25 Tonnes of Maize flour donated today @MinofHealthUG to feed vulnerable families during this COVID19 Uganda pandemic.
It remains unclear why NBL’s food samples were not sent to the UNBS laboratories for testing.
UNBS dismissed as “deceptive” claims that UBL had their Posho tested at the UNBS labs and got it certified before donating it to government for COVID19 relief.
“UNBS therefore refutes this allegation because it is deceptive and is against our mandate of protecting consumers against harmful and dangerous products,” said UNBS.
“We would like to urge the public to disregard it and treat it with the contempt it deserves. UNBS continues to perform its mandate of enforcing standards to protect the health and safety of consumers and the environment against dangerous and substandard products.”
The revelations will pile more pressure on NBL to be more forthcoming with information on its food donation.
The public is eager to know how untested food ended up being distributed by government, putting thousands of lives at risk.
April 13, 2020 at 4:13 pm #204945Free UgandaKeymaster
Uganda Poor Working conditions in the fight against COVID 19 pandemic
Medical workers under their umbrella body, the Uganda Medical Workers Union (UMWU) have decried what they call poor working conditions in the fight against COVID 19 pandemic.
According to UMWU General Secretary Aggrey Sanya, the medical workers continue to face realistic challenges which are a threat to their safety and lives.
“Medical workers in hospitals and other health centres continue to work in life endangering conditions without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The work environment in some health facilities remains appalling; old dilapidated structures and unhygienic,” said Sanya in a statement.
Due to the increased population without commensurate increase in health infrastructure and health workforce, Sanya said many health workers are crumbling under a heavy workload which is particularly dangerous during the COVID 19 pandemic.
He called on Government to expedite with utmost urgency the process of providing appropriate PPE to health workers at all levels and in all sectors (both public and private).
“We don’t wish to see a situation where health workers are dying at the frontline,” he said.
To minimize the contact between a healthcare provider and a patient, Sanya asked Government to make available the infrared thermometers (temperature guns) at all health facilities at all levels.
Further, the medical workers asked for risk allowance saying that COVID 19 poses a huge risk to their lives.
“Cognizant of the special risk to which health workers are particularly exposed, we call upon Government to provide risk allowances not only to COVID 19 Task Force members (some of whom are only working at the level of boardroom meetings without direct exposure) but to all health workers at the risk of exposure from both confirmed and unconfirmed COVID 19 cases in all health facilities,” said Sanya.
He added that Government should provide enough means of transport during this lockdown to enable medical workers get to their places of work since most of them do not own private cars.
Furthermore, the health workers asked for relief aid as Government traverses the country distributing relief food to the vulnerable poor who were vehemently affected by the measures put in place by Government to combat the pandemic.
This Sanya said is because they are fully engaged in the fight against COVID 19 pandemic and cannot have time to engage in other activities to support their livelihood.
“We would like to remind Government that health workers are some of the least paid workers in civil service. Given that they are now fully engaged at the frontline full time, there is therefore not time and opportunity to engage in other activities to augment their source of livelihood. We therefore call upon Government to consider relief aid (food) for health workers that need it,” Sanya said.
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