Authorities in Uganda have dismissed fake news circulated on social media on Saturday indicating that the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) boss has died.
Residents of Bushenyi District in Western Uganda were Saturday afternoon fed on false claims that MRRH executive director Dr Celestine Barigye had died.
Few minutes into the afternoon, social media platforms, especially WhatsApp groups were awash with forwarded messages about the “untimely death of Dr Barigye” who is resident in the Central Division, Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality Bushenyi District.
The rumors even gained more traction after a local radio station, 97.8 Kazo FM Omushomesa twitted announcing the false development.
The Ministry of Health has now come out to inform masses that “Dr Barigye is well and alive.”
“Please disregard rumors and social media reports about Dr Celestine Barigye,” the Ministry of health communicated on Saturday.
By 3pm on Saturday, the Twitter account belonging to 97.8 Kazo FM Omushomesa had also pulled down the post and apologized for misleading the public.
“We apologize to Dr Barigye’s friends and family for the previous contrary reports about the subject,” the radio said.
Speaking to Monitor on Saturday, National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) managing director Eng Silver Mugisha, who is Dr Barigye's cousin, also rubbished the reports saying it was a complete hoax.
“It was fake! Yes, he has been sick but he was even sunbathing today. At least, he is much better than how he was a few days back and we pray that he continues to be better. I have been visiting and observing him and he has been improving every day,” said Eng Mugisha.
But Who is Dr Barigye?
Dr Barigye Barigye is the current executive director of the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, an office he has held since December 2014.
Prior to this appointment, he served as Bushenyi District Health Officer, lecturer at Kampala International University, hospital board member and active member of several academic and administrative committees.
His research interests include infectious diseases with attention to HIV, malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea in developing countries.
Dr Barigye graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Science (MBchB) from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) where he also completed his internship training. He went on to receive a Masters in Public Health with concentration in International Health at Melbourne University, Australia.