News & Information



21
July
2020

NCTTCA Secretariat lauded for its sensitisation efforts against the spread of COVID-19 along the Northern Corridor


By: TTCA
Summary/Brief
During a week-long exercise of distributing 10,000 Masks and reflective jackets to Long Distance Truck drivers in Mombasa and at the Weighbridges namely; Busia, Webuye, Mariakani, Athi-River and Gilgil; Truck drivers have lauded the Northern Corridor Secretariat for its relentless efforts in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.


During a week-long exercise of distributing 10,000 Masks and reflective jackets to Long Distance Truck drivers in Mombasa and at the Weighbridges namely; Busia, Webuye, Mariakani, Athi-River and Gilgil; Truck drivers have lauded the Northern Corridor Secretariat for its relentless efforts in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sensitisation Team during the distribution exercise of 10,000 Masks and Reflector Jackets to Long Distance Truck Drivers at the weighbridges in Busia, Webuye, Mariakani, Mlolongo and Gilgil.

Speaking during the Launch of the sensitization campaign against the spread of COVID-19 and stigmatisation along the Northern Corridor, truck drivers said they are grateful for the interventions the NCTTCA Secretariat has put in place so far including the real time quick response forum through WhatsApp group dubbed “Northern Corridor Stakeholders Forum”.

Truck drivers expressed their gratitude for the masks and reflective jackets issued by the NCTTCA Secretariat and appreciated the donation of a handwashing station erected at the testing centre as a contribution to increased sanitation and handwashing for drivers before entering the testing booth.

The drivers, led by Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union chairman Roman Waema, said stigma was the biggest challenge they face when on transit.

Tunashukuru sana Idara ya Kanda la Kaskazini kwa kukumbuka madereva na kutuletea barakoa na kwa yale mazuri mmetufanyia hapa (We appreciate the Northern Corridor Secretariat for their solidarity with the drivers, issuing us with masks and more that we have seen here),” said Mr Roman Waema, Chairman for Kenya Long Distance Drivers and Conductors Association (LoDDCA).

Waema said some counties like Machakos do not allow them to stop at their designated resting places saying truck drivers “have corona and will spread it to their people”. 

“Sometimes we are forced to drive for over four hours without stopping, going as far as 400km, just because people do not want us to stop in their neighbourhoods,” Waema said.

The drivers said they had been facing stigmatisation in different places due to misinformation of the public with some regarded with suspicion even by close family members.

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A Truck Driver receiving Masks during the Sensitisation Campaign against the Spread of COVID-19 and Stigma along the Northern Corridor 

However, with messages of hope and solidarity inscribed on the reflective jackets, ‘Even after the Worst Storms, the Sun will shine again’, truckers felt motivated and appreciated for their vital contribution to the economy of the region.

Drivers are the most important people in building an economy, “said Hon. Adan Mohamed, CS for Ministry of EAC and Regional Development during the Launch of the Sensitization Campaign against the Spread of COVID-19 and Stigma along the Northern Corridor.

CS Mohamed pledged to have the drivers’ request for increased processing capacity at the laboratories effected. He also promised to dismantle the roadblock at Mlolongo and to engage his counterparts in the EAC and other Northern Corridor Member States to ensure drivers are treated with dignity.

Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic and the institution of regional guidelines and country-specific protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19, truckers, who are essential service providers are required to undergo mandatory testing. Lack of adequate reagents to process the COVID-19 test results at the laboratories led to the delayed release of test results, creating a traffic backlog at the borders as COVID-19-free test certificates and attestation forms became a mandatory clearance document.

Kenya Transporters Association CEO Dennis Ombok said the delay in testing and releasing of results has increased turn-around times.

It used to take an average of four days to make a return trip to Kampala, Uganda, but since Covid-19 and the testing requirement, the same trip now takes an average of 14 days.

“Going to Rwanda and coming back to pick another cargo at the Port of Mombasa used to take an average of eight days. Now that has increased to 20 days,” Ombok said.

In its endeavours to keep the cross-border trade and transport open, the Secretariat has also been convening every Tuesday online consultation meetings with Northern Corridor stakeholders to respond to challenges faced by truck drivers at different borders points and transport nodes along the corridor.  

“We thank the NCTTCA for facilitating the weekly online meetings for all Northern Corridor route stakeholders. …it was tough for drivers, but since the Tuesday meetings started, things have slowly started moving,” said Mr Dennis Ombok, the CEO Kenya Transporters Association. 





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