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.