Busia Covid-19 mass testing suspended after residents protest

Busia town locals say exercise will portray the region as a coronavirus hotspot

In Summary
  • Airstrip where the testing was to take place on Wednesday is where the screening of truck drivers has been taking place.
  • The screening will resume after community is sensitised on the importance of the exercise. 
A Covid-19 testing room at the Busia County Teaching and Referral Hospital
HALTED: A Covid-19 testing room at the Busia County Teaching and Referral Hospital


Community coronavirus testing in Busia town was suspended on Wednesday after residents protested, claiming the screening  portrayed the region as a Covid-19 hotspot.

Health workers deployed at Busia airstrip for the exercise left following the protest.

County Universal Health Coverage director David Mukabi told the Star the health department will carry out intensive community sensitisation before the screening resumes.

He said it was the department's responsibility to convince residents to accept to be screened for the sake of their health, stressing that screening was key in the fight against the spread of the virus.

“The community around the airstrip became rowdy and threatened to beat up our team, so we abandoned the exercise until further mobilisation is done,” Mukabi said.

The residents complained that testing in that area depicted them as carriers of the virus, he said. Also, they demanded that everyone should be tested.

"We had sampled a few who we wanted to start with, but they declined,” he added.

The protestors said people from Teso North, Teso South, Butula, Funyula, Nambale and Bunyala must be tested in their respective sub-counties and not in Matayos where the exercise was to start on Wednesday.

Busia town is in Matayos sub-county.

The protestors argued that if people from other sub-counties were tested in Busia town and their results turned positive, it will be interpreted that the positive cases are from Matayos.

It is at the airstrip that the screening of truck drivers is happening.

Busia has the third-highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases after Nairobi and Mombasa counties.

As of Wednesday, the county had 370 positive cases. Nairobi had 2,555 and Mombasa 1,340 cases.

Mukabi said out of the 370 positive cases, only four are Busia residents. The rest are truck drivers from other counties.


Edited by P.O