Archive for January 11, 2010

Gulu

Former internally displaced people who have returned to their homes in Gulu District are facing shortage of clean drinking water, Daily Monitor has learnt.

In an interview over the weekend, the chairman of Palaro Sub-county in Gulu, Mr David Ngole, said women walk for over 15 kilometres in search of drinking water. Mr Ngole urged the government to intervene immediately, adding that any delay could severely frustrate resettlement efforts in the war battered district.

Danger

“They are exposed to rapists at night and snake bites as they travel in the bush in search of water,” he added. Mr Ngole added that water sources in villages like Abwoc Bel, Wipolo, Owalo and Kalali dried up when people were still in the camps.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Works and Technical Services, Mr Alex Otim, said some women are forced to collect rain water from mud ponds. “Some of them drink unsafe water and this exposes them to risks of getting bilharzia,” Mr Otim said. He added that the council would make provision of safe water and roads a priority.

Official figures indicate that in Gulu District alone, over 85 per cent of former displaced persons have returned home and several camps have been closed. The Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency displaced thousands of people in northern and eastern Uganda and forced them into camps.

As reported via Daily Monitor: Truth Everyday; Uganda News, Business, Travel, Sports, Elections  – Gulu residents trek miles for water.

Some of the patients at Gulu hospital sleeping on spring beds without mattresses

By Chris Ocowun

MANY patients at Gulu referral hospital sleep on the floor, or on beds without mattresses. Terezina Akot, 60, said she was forced to buy papyrus mats to spread on the floor for her patient.

“When we came we found all the beds occupied. We had to buy papyrus mats. That is where we sleep with many other patients,” Akot narrated.

She told The New Vision last Thursday that other patients sleep on clothing.

Conditions at night are said to be worse with patients and their caretakers fighting for space on the ward floors with some sleeping in the corridors.

“Even the drugs are not enough. After surgical operations, the medical workers tell us to buy medicine. I have been here for one month and bought drugs worth sh16,000, yet there is no improvement in my condition,” said Lily Auno, who was nursing a large wound on her leg.

Conditions in the maternity ward are worse. Mothers who have just given birth are told to vacate their beds for women who are in labour.

The wards for surgery, children and out-patients are also over-crowded.

“On Mondays, more than 500 patients queue at the dispensing window to receive drugs, Others sit under the sun to wait for drugs. We used to have about 100 patients at the out-patients department on Mondays,” a medic remarked.

Nurses noted that though some of the wards have been renovated, they lacked mattresses, beddings and other accessories, and that the few remaining beds in them were in poor condition.

The medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Yovenito Agel Akii, acknowledged the number of inpatients in the various wards was more than double their capacity, and that there was a shortage of drugs, supplies and medical workers: “Gulu referral hospital is a 250-bed hospital and yet in the last six months, the number of our inpatients has doubled from 400-600. We receieve a budget for 250 beds and yet we are handling double this number.”

read the full report via New Vision Online : Gulu hospital lacks beds.

Zimbabwe diamond mine abuses ‘continue’

Diamond miners in Zimbabwe

It is alleged widespread human rights abuses took place in Marange

A human rights group says it is concerned about “continuing abuses” at diamond mines in Zimbabwe.

This follows a last-minute decision by Zimbabwean authorities to halt a three-day sale of about 300,000 carats of rough diamonds.

Global Witness says some mines remain in the hands of the military despite an agreement with international monitors.

Insiders have told the BBC that the sale was only halted after “blood diamond” trade monitors intervened.

“We’re obviously pleased that this auction has been cancelled but overall we’re still concerned about the situation in the diamond fields in Marange,” Global Witness’ Anne Dunnebacke told the BBC Network Africa programme.

Senior Zimbabwe’s mines ministry official Thankful Musukutwa on Thursday told a news conference in Harare that the auction had been stopped because it had not been approved by the Kimberley Process (KP), set up to regulate the trade in “blood diamonds” – those mined in conflict zones.

“No export will take place prior to certification by the KP monitor,” he told reporters.

Some 80% of sales from the planned three-day auction would have gone to the Zimbabwe government, according to reports.

read the full report via BBC News – Zimbabwe diamond mine abuses ‘continue’.