Health Workers Wrongly Arrested in Mubende – Health Ministry

The Ministry of Health has said health workers arrested for reportedly violating Ebola lock down guidelines on Sunday were wrongly held.

In a clarification released on Monday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the safe and dignified burial team members were arrested from inside the guest house where they have been staying since they were deployed in Mubende district.

Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services told URN that the team had held a small party at their residence and played loud music which attracted attention of the Police. While he says they shouldn’t have done that, he adds that they didn’t flout any health guidelines as they didn’t invite in other people from outside.    

Earlier this month, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni declared a lockdown in Mubende and Kassanda districts owing to the increasing number of Ebola cases which has so far claimed thirty seven people of the a hundred and twenty nine that have so far tested positive. Among the directives that came with the lockdown was curfew and movement restrictions.

The Police had said on Sunday that the thirteen essential health workers that are volunteering with Uganda Red Cross Society to offer safe and dignified burial to those that succumb to Ebola  had been found at a bar drinking.

But in a statement, Red Cross had also earlier indicated that volunteers were found at their guest house. “Uganda Red Cross is part of the Ebola Taskforce and one of the custodians of the Ebola Prevention guidelines,” the statement reads in part.

They added that the volunteers have a code of conduct that guides their work which is in tandem with the Ebola prevention guidelines.

While the thirteen have since been released from police custody, Dr. Mwebesa says they are working to ensure that such ping pong between police and essential workers are avoided. He for instance reveals that they have given out some stickers for easy identification. 

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