The Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public works has called on long distance truck drivers to get their Covid-19 vaccination to be able to provide local and across border road transport services effectively.
Speaking during a press briefing at the Ministry of Transport Headquarters after holding a consultative meeting with the various stakeholders in the transport sector, State Department of Transport Principal Secretary (PS) Joseph Njoroge, said stakeholders should voluntarily get vaccinated to continue providing cross border road transport services.
“The government is very committed to see that truck drivers and other road users are not making long queues while testing for Covid-19 and also during the vaccination especially near the Malaba-Busia border,” PS Njoroge said.
Mr Njoroge said the government has set up vaccination centres closer to the road users so that they can easily get the services.
He said that the sub-sector contributes significantly in boosting human capital and quality of life through high mobility in the labour resource market, goods market, education, health which results in increased productivity of the economy.
The PS noted that road transport is the predominant mode of transport which carries more than 90 percent of all cargo and passenger traffic in the country and thus the stakeholders should be in the forefront to get the Covid-19 vaccination.
“The sub sector has witnessed significant slowdown in operations arising from the drastic measures adopted by the government to curtail further spread of Covid-19 and we would not want to go back to lockdowns,” said the PS.
Kenya Long Distance Transport Association Chairman, Nicholas Mbugua, urged all the truck drivers to get the vaccine voluntarily, insisting that it is for their own good.
“It is important for all of us to get vaccinated and also encourage others to do so for this is the way to go and grow our economy back to where it was before Covid-19,” said Mbugua.
He requested the Ministry of Health on behalf of the union to allow centres along the northern highway corridor where port health officers are stationed like Mlolongo, ICD Nairobi, Maai Mahiu, Busia, Malaba and Kisumu to offer testing and vaccination,”
Mbugua urged the government to address the issue of foreign truck drivers in Kenya who do not have driving requirements adding that it does not only pose a great risk to other road users but also distorts the drivers remuneration to below governments’ prescription.
Speaking during the media briefing, Head of Public Health, Dr Francis Kuria, urged the truck drivers to get tested where they start their journey to avoid congestion within the borders.
“Remember to observe the Covid-19 measures put by the Ministry of Health even after getting the vaccine because it does not mean you cannot contract the virus,” said Dr Kuria.
Kuria urged the truck drivers to make sure they get tested for Covid-19 even after being vaccinated.
By Catherine Muindi