How President’s office, Labour Ministry and UAERA worked to return Ugandan Migrant worker Joan Kyotalimye

KAMPALA —The Office of the President and Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) have facilitated the return of Joan Agnes Kyotalimye, a Ugandan Migrant worker who had earlier sought government intervention to help her return home from a Saudi Arabian hospital.

Kyotalimye returned aboard an Ethiopian Airways flight that touched the tarmac at Entebbe International Airport at around 10:35am.

Amb. Abbey Walusimbi, a senior presidential advisor on diaspora affairs confirmed the
development in a statement on dated Thursday October 27.

“The Office of the President has facilitated Joan’s safe return and this morning we alongside the family received Joan at Entebbe Airport who arrived aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight number ET0413 which landed at 10:35 am. She is well and her health is continuously out of danger,” Amb. Walusimbi said.

He added: “We have informed the family, her Father Mr. Paul Guluma, Mother Esther Meeme, Senga Namugwano Agnes Suzan and Kojja Mubiru Mose Ntaani who were elated at the news. We further coordinated with Alasker International, the company that recruited her, Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Health, UAERA, Ministry of health and our Embassy in Saudi Arabia to facilitate the return on Mzeei’s Muzzukulu.”

Walusimbi said his office would continue to keep tabs tabs on Joan until she is fully recovered, and “it will be upon her if she wants to return abroad, or work here, the government will support all her endeavors”.

He urged all stakeholders not to keep quiet and become spectators when any of any Ugandan nationals is suffering.

“To our children working abroad, do not hesitate to reach your Diaspora office in case of anything, because His excellency the president put us here to serve you regardless of creed, political affiliation or social status.”

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Aggrey David Kibenge commended the Ugandan Embassy in Saudi Arabia for taking charge of the process and ensuring that Kyotalimye was secured up to when she arrived back this morning.

“The Mission has closely followed up the case and we want to thank them for all the efforts that have yielded good results,” Kibenge said.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has been working together with various partners including President’s Office to secure Kyotalimye ever since her audio went viral four weeks back.

Kyotalimye she hailed from Mayirikiti village, Nkokonjeru and was externalized as a Domestic Worker in Dammam, Saudi Arabia through Alaska International Limited.

In the recording, she said her employer had checked her into Dammam Medical Complex where she was placed into isolation and started on medication for an illness unknown to her.

She also expressed concern that medical documents she had seen showed that she was scheduled for surgery “upon recovery”.

She faulted Alaska International Limited and her deploying firm in Saudi Arabia for not responding to her calls for rescue.

Upon learning of the audio, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development through its responsibility over officially externalized Ugandans commenced consultations with sister agencies, including the Ugandan Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

When medical samples taken from her were tested, it was established that she was positive for tuberculosis.

She was then returned to the hospital and isolated as a standard operating procedure for patients presenting with communicable diseases such as Tuberculosis.

The hospital recommended that she gets treatment while under isolation until when she would be in position to get a final exit visa to return to Uganda and continue treatment from here.

However, through all this process, Kyotalimye was not convinced that she was sick of Tuberculosis as evidenced in her numerous audio messages she sent out.

A thorough medical examination was proposed to be done on Kyotalimye upon return to rule out any misconceptions.

But during a press briefing at the Office of the President, Kyotalimye appreciated the President through Amb. Abbey Walusimbi who has come to her aid and has enabled her coming back home safely.

“I thank God that I am finally home, despite being weak due to the medication that I have been taking but I am happy that I am still alive. Thanks to the President for making this dream come true,” Kyotalimye noted.

Alasker International Opperations Manager, Ibrahim Gyagenda appreciated the President for coordinating and facilitating the return of Kyotalimye.

He asked the President to further offer facilitation to the office of the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs which office has shown great support towards the government Externalization sector.

The Chairperson Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), Baker Akatambira appreciated the President for appointing Amb. Walusimbi to handle diaspora affairs and encouraged the rest of the companies to utilise the office of the president because it has proved to be efficient in bailing several of their clients out

He noted that this office has been so instrumental in streamlining the Labour Externalization sector and ensuring that it is well organised.

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