February 28, 2024

Pilgrims collapse as numbers surge at Namugongo Shrine

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At least 30 people who thronged Namugongo Shrine in Wakiso for Martyrs’ Day commemoration have been referred to hospitals for further medical attention after collapsing at the shrine due to the surging number of pilgrims.

By 6 am on Saturday, June 3rd, the catholic shrine was almost full to capacity with thousands of pilgrims jostling at the main entrance to also access the premises to attend the 10 am mass.

The security personnel who deployed at the entrance were overheard telling some pilgrims to go back as the venue could not accommodate their big number. Due to overcrowding, several people were seen collapsing as they struggled to catch their breath.

Those who collapsed were first rushed to the Red Cross tents mounted inside the shrines to handle emergencies and offer first aid.

Speaking to journalists at around 9 am, Uganda Red Cross Branch Manager for Kampala West, Mr Prize Tayeebwa said they had so far worked on over 300 pilgrims since the week started.

He said at least 30 pilgrims were referred to Nagura and Mulago hospitals because they required blood transfusion which Red Cross couldn’t handle at the tents.

“People have been reporting high blood pressure, anaemia and dehydration issues after going days without eating and drinking enough water. Others are expectant mothers,” Mr Tayeebwa said.

Red Cross is working with other medical service providers, including Nsambya, and Mulago hospitals, among others.

The organizing committee in previous media briefings said they expected about three million people for the year’s celebrations

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