Residents in Kalangala District have raised concerns over the increased number of water accidents on Lake Victoria yet most of the travelers and islanders do not own a single life Jacket to protect their lives
The concerns were raised by residents of Kagoonya Landing site in Bunyama Parish during a civic engagement between media practitioners in Kalangala districts and Residents which was organised on sunday, August 6th 2023, as one of the pre-activities leading to the Greater Masaka Media Convention 2023.
Kenneth Wasswa Ntale, a resident of Kagoonya Landing site told Journalists that government and the civil society working in the islands are only concentrating on giving out Condoms to protect them from HIV/AIDS instead of Life Jackets yet they pay huge amounts of taxes
Last week, a cargo boat transporting 30 people from Lwanabatya and Ntuuwa Landing Sites in Kyamuswa Sub County Kalangala District capsized leaving 20 people dead. The boat left Kyamuswa Sub County for Kasenyi in Katabi Town Council, Wakiso District met strong waves on the lake in the night prompting distress calls from the coxswain.
“We lost over 20 people in that boat tragedy, we have never seen government giving out a single life Jacket to Kalangala residents well knowing that we use water transport. Government is losing hundreds of tax payers, they only concentrate on giving out Condoms. Even the Marine Police do not care of overloading boats but they instead concentrate on torturing fishermen. How can government fail to provide Life Jackets from the huge taxes levied from Ugandans? Kenneth Wasswa Ntale said.
Alice Nazziwa, the Bunyama Parish Councilor said residents at Bunyama Island have no access to public health facilities to handle emergency cases and asked government to at least construct a health center III on the Island
“A patient has to hire a boat at costs of not less than 20,000/- during day and over 100,000/- in the night to sail 2km on the lake to access Kalangala Health Center IV. We have lost many of our colleagues under circumstances where one cannot afford to raise such amounts. Expectant mothers end up delivering babies on their way to Kalangala.” Nazziwa said
Nazziwa added that they have a few private clinics on the landing site but proprietors at times send weeks and months without opening them, and the only solution would be establishing a public health facility.
The Kalangala Town Council area councilor who also doubles as the District Secretary for Health Hon. Nakanwagi Irene Kiwanuka in response to the queries said they have often asked government to improvise and construct public health facilities at least on each island to minimize cases handled at Kalangala Health center IV
“Government has a plan to construct Health center 3s in every parish countrywide since level 2 was phased out, but we continue to ask that hard to reach areas like islands of Kalangala be considered and prioritized. Currently you find that one health center 3 serves 8 islands which are distant to each other.” Nakanwagi said.
The Kalangala District Woman MP Hon Hellen Nakimuli said, she already raised the absence of a single health facility in Bunyama Parish on the floor of Parliament as a matter of National Importance and she is making a follow up on government interventions.
Nakimuli Said, “I have taken note of the pertaining issues at Bunyama, which include the poor toilet facilities, lack of access to clean water etc and I’m going to engage all the concerned parties.”
The Greater Masaka Media Convention 2023
Meanwhile, the Civic engagement was led Mr. Sam Kwesiga, the President Kalangala Journalists Association and was attended by Journalists operating in the District including the Senior Journalist Mr. Bambalazaabwe Ssemakula.
Kwesiga said, “we have prioritized health in our civic engagement since it’s a matter of public interest in Kalangala and its in line with other activities conducted by Journalists in greater Masaka districts as we prepare for our forth coming Greater Masaka Media Convention 2023.”
Mr. Matovu Maurice Peter, one of the Committee members Organising the ever first greater Masaka Media Convention who also joined Kalangala Journalists in the civic engagement said, the Convention is intended to unite all Media practitioners in the region and also reflect on the challenges affecting media personnel in greater Masaka region.
“We have engaged in community self-help activities at Masaka regional referral Hospital, Butenga Health center IV in Bukomansimbi, Ssembabule Health Center IV, Rakai Health Center, we have visited the sick and donated charity them in those hospitals and we are also going to Kyotera, Lwengo and Lyantonde. This Health campaign is a give back to the communities where we operate from as a pre activity to the Greater Masaka Media Convention 2023 slated for 15th September, in Masaka City.” Maurice said.