Gulu district covers an area of 11,732 sq km, comprised of open waters and swamps (180 sq.km), arable land (10,301 sq.km), national parks and Games Reserves (982 sq.km) and forest coverage (371 sq .km). Lying 332 km from the national capital Kampala, Gulu district has traditionally been widely acknowledged as the regional capital of the northern region.
Gulu’s climate consists of wet and dry seasons. The average total rainfall received is 1,500 mm per annum with a monthly average rainfall varying between 14 mm in January and 230 mm in August .Normally the wet seasons extends from April to October with the highest peaks in May, August and October. Dry seasons begin in November and extend up to March .
The district has a population of 479,496 according to the 2002 population census. Of these females are 243, 620 and males 55,134. Gulu is a multi-ethnic district though some 85 percent of the people are of the Acholi ethnic group. Other ethnic groups with a big presence in the district are the Langi, Madi and Alur. The main languages in Gulu are Luo, English, Swahili, Madi, Lugbara, Luganda, Acholi and Kinubi.
Gulu can be accessed by road, air and water;
The national railway line also extends to the district though it is not in operation at the moment.
The district has a 415 km feeder road network and a 600 km community road network
The district also accesses the Mobile Telephones Network (MTN) and Uganda telecom networks.
The main source of water in Gulu is spring wells and boreholes though there is piped water in the urban areas.
There is a borehole at Gulu district hospital Anaka.
Wood fuel is the main energy source, others being solar energy and hydro-power supplied by the national grid.
Electricity access is limited to a radius of about 15kms from Gulu town. Solar is widely used in institutions like schools, churches, hospitals and radio stations.
Agriculture ; Over a population of 90% of the population in the district engage and benefit from Agriculture .Agriculture contributes 45 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Some 10,301 sq km is under agriculture but insecurity has rendered big chunks of the district no-go areas.
The major cash crops grown are rice, tobacco, cotton, groundnuts, sun flowers and simsim while the staple foods are finger millet, sweet potatoes, cassava, sorghum, pigeon peas,
beans, bananas, cowpeas, soy beans and maize.
Gulu district has four main hospitals and five health sub district (HSD). The hospitals are Anaka
Gulu District hospital Anaka, Gulu Referral Hospital, St. Mary’s Lacor Hospital (Missionary founded) and the private Independent Hospital.
In Nwoya the health centres are at Koch-goma, Alero, Purongo and Agung/Todora. In Kilak County they are at Atiak, Pabbo (NGO owned), Pabbo (district owned), Pawel, Bibia, Awer, Pulwal, Amuru and Parabongo.
In Omoro County the health centres are at Lalogi, Bobi, Opit, Lakwat-omer, Acet, Odek and Awere which primarily serves internally displaced people.
Aswa’s health centres are located at Awach referral hospital, Cweru, Patiko, Labwor-omor, Babwor and Tegot –Atto.
There are 28 clinics operating in the district both licensed and non-licensed and
75 license drug shops.
District officials say there was overall improvement in performance in the health sector in 2002. Utilization of health facilities increased as well as absorption capacity for funds disbursed at the district level. Awash
In October 2000 the district was struck by a viral hemorrhage fever known as Ebola, which claimed a total of 150 lives including 14 health workers. 133 of the affected people survived and 400 orphans were left psychologically traumatized.
There is limited health infrastructure and diseases like malaria, malnutrition, skin and eye infections are on the increase. Over 60 percent of the people in the district are internally displaced and live in camps, characterized by lack of safe water, latrines, and good food.
Author: Sandra Nans