By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus - After a directive was given by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni last month that all Ugandans who intended to move in public should wear masks, he also gave a directive for the mass production and subsequent distribution of face masks for every Ugandan above the age of 6.
Now, according to the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, 81 billion shillings is to be spent to acquire and distribute these masks to the estimated 30 million Ugandans that fit this category.
On Wednesday this week, First Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali flagged off the first consignment of 750,000 face masks that are to be distributed in the border districts of Kyotera, Rakai, Adjumani and Amuru.
Speaking to journalists, the minister of health said, "The process will cost the government about UGX81billion. UGX79billion is the cost of the masks while UGX2billion is the cost of distribution."
Apparently, each of these face masks was valued at UGX2,400. This is UGX1,400 more than what the minister had earlier said.
In explanation, the minister said that "The masks are made of three layers; the outer layer is 65% polyester and 35% cotton. The middle layer is made of chiffon and the innermost layer is made of cotton."
The minister has of recent expressed concern about the deliberate flouting of guidelines to wear face masks in public, even warning that a second total lockdown might be required to avoid mass transmission of COVID-19 and death.
Distribution of these face masks might come as a welcome reprieve in the ministry’s efforts to keep the spread of COVID-19 in the country in check.