There was a verbal exchange on the floor of Parliament between Sarah Opendi, the State Minister of Health-General Duties and MPs over the ‘outbreak’ of the Congo Crimean fever in Nakaseke district.
It all started when MP Luttamaguzi Ssemakula (Nakaseke South) took to the floor demanding for a statement from government about the reported outbreak of the dreaded disease.
In his remarks, Luttamaguzi said that eight people have lost their lives to the disease, while 22 residents remain in isolation.
But when Opendi came to respond to the matter, she lashed out at Luttamaguzi for ‘hijacking the role of the Ministry’.
According to the Minister, it is only experts from the Ministry of Health who are mandated declare any outbreak, ‘not individuals without any health knowledge’.
However, several legislators took fault with Opendi’s response with many booing, as some stood up calling the Minister to ‘order’.
Jacob Oulanyah, Deputy Speaker saved the day and calmed the MPs, telling Minister Opendi that the matter at hand was the eight deaths and other imminent deaths, ‘not who is responsible for announcing the outbreak’.
“You aren’t in order to say that nobody else is supposed to talk about these matters,” Oulanyah said.
But Opendi was not done and fired back: “The Ministry does declare, we haven’t registered any death. We had this outbreak in August. We had cases but old cases are negative.”
The Minister’s response however did no go unchallenged, with Patrick Nsamba asking her to explain why 22 people are condoned off and why the eight died.
“The Congo Fever does normally occur in the cattle corridor and there were suspicious cases collected. So far all samples collected, all have turned out negative,” the Minister answered.
However, that response elicited more protests, forcing Minister Opendi to promise to return with a more concrete explanation.