Community Health Advocates petition Speaker on workers absenteeism
A number of community advocates on health matters have petitioned the speaker of parliament seeking action against absentee health workers in public facilities.
The group which has spread its operations in at least 16 districts working with different civil societies presented its findings to the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday, highlighting major risks suffered by patients.
In 2016, the Report notes that a one Christine Adoch, a mother from Kalamoni village, Paidwe Parish located in Bobi Sub County in Omoro distict lost her baby after health workers midwives at Bobi Health Center III were not on duty.
The report further notes that, “this is not an isolated case, in Koro HC II, patients were forced to seek health services elsewhere during a period of one week in June 2016 because the in-charge was absent from work and had the keys to the health center.”
The petition was presented by a one Christine Nanziri, a community advocate in Mubende district.
She stated that a number of health facilities suffer a number of challenges ranging from absenteeism to flawed staff registers.
The group divided itself and sent at least a member to minor their respective health centres for a period between 10-18 days to collect evidence on when the health worker arrive and depart from work.
Targeted districts included; Mubende, Omoro, Tororo, Nakaseke Lira Apc, Bundibugyo and Kabarole,Others are Kagadi, Kakumiro, Pader, Gulu and Kitgum.
Community Advocates from Mubende found that the midwife posted to Bbira HC II did not work for six out of the even days the data was collected while other health workers did not turn up at all.
The Report also notes that most workers either worked for a few days or simply took a whole week with no show.
In some health facilities, the focal persons found out that there are instances where health workers agree amongst themselves to work for one week and a take another week off, this they say, increases the work load and inadequate case handling.
“We also found out that even though workers were absent from duty, the staff registers would show that they are present,” Ms Nanziri said.
She added that, “in fact, many staff at health centers sign in the registers way in advance or leave their lines blank on a given day so that the health workers who are absent can sign when they return.”
The petitioners asked Parliament to hold the ministry of health accountable for negligence in monitoring and the Ministries of Local Government and Public Service for failure to enforce Public Service standing Orders.
They also want to have a platform through which their volunteers and communities can directly report health workers who absent themselves from duty.
The speaker, Rebecca Kadaga blamed the increased cases of absenteeism on lack of monitoring by the local government and said she would take up the matter with a motion to strengthen government undertakings on the floor of Parliament.
She described the move by the volunteers as a new beginning of a revolution in the health sector, that will expose ills in service centers.