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UGANDA: Covid-19 front line workers not being paid their risk allowances

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The forefront health workers managing Covid-19 at Oraba border point of entry (Uganda-south Sudan boarder) have expressed concern over irregularities in paying risk duty allowances by ministry of health and Koboko district local government .The health workers whom I can’t disclose their names for job protection purposes say though they have resumed work, they need their risk duty allowances paid or they lay down tools of work.

Over this week, Health service delivery at Oraba border point came to standstill for at least two days (Monday, Tuesday and partly Wednesday ) as front line health workers managing Covid-19 at the border point of entry abandoned their duty over claims of unpaid risk duty allowances for over three month. The team that consists of laboratory technicians are challenging the district over payment of two million shillings risk allowance to team of volunteers yet the appointed health staffs who are the forefront workers in the fight against Covid-19 have not been included in the facilitation.

“the district leaders selected their own people whose names have been submitted to the ministry and these same people are now eating money yet we are the ones working on ground, different people are getting money at the expense of our work and whenever we engage the leaders, they always keep promising us, imagine for three month same stories over and over again”

One of the health worker said.

The health workers however also accused the leaders of using volunteers at the un-gazzetted border points which they say is the cause of the irregularities

“the president the other time was clear that screening be done at major boarder entry points more especially where trucks are passing where oraba is included and that’s where we are working but we are surprised to hear the district telling us that there are also some team deployed at the other un-gazzetted points, of course we now suspect that if ministry truly passed, then the money should have been paid to these unconfirmed health workers.”

Speaking to Bebona Simon, the chief administrative officer Koboko, expressed ignorance on the mode of selection of the two categories of the health workers.

“When We cross checked, we discovered that there was a special group of about six (6) people who had been submitted to the ministry so as to be deployed at the point of entry more especially those ones doing temperature monitoring, clinical officers etc., but that arrangement did not come through me, I don’t know who and how their names were submitted it didn’t come through my office”.-the chief administrative officer said..

He however warned the technocrats in the district against carrying transaction within and outside the district behind curtain without his notice

According to Mr. Simon, the district has already liaised with the ministry to see that payment is made to the right people.

Mokil peter Abeson the secretary social services for Koboko district local government believes there is no need to intimidate the laboratory technicians over the matter sine the situation emerged due to the erroneous process that led to payment of money to group of people who were not vetted by the relevant authorities as volunteers.

“Nobody is going to be disciplined for demanding his or her right, that one I am not going to allow because these guys were right only that there was delay in handling their problems but the also wanted their grievances felt”. -The secretary social services said.

He however blamed ministry of health for failing to consult the relevant authorities in the district whenever such payment which he says has currently created problems on ground

The problem is real not our own problem as a district but the centre has to be blamed for that because they used only one officer and these one officer did not share the right information of the actual people on ground. And even despite that, they were like “please do it in hurry” and they did not know what their actions will cause on ground.

The resident district commissioner, Koboko, Captain Yahaya Kakooza, confirmed the incident said the action of the health workers is capable of subjecting the people of Koboko to high risk of getting infected with Covid-19 in cases where the truck driver will escape without their samples being tested.

He however says the district has followed the matter with the ministry and resolution has been made that from this financial year, the money should be paid to the rightly appointed health workers in the management of Covid-19.

If it’s a risk allowance it supposed to be for those people doing the real risky hard stuff, so we liaised with the ministry and we got where the problem was, so we resolved that with effect from these new financial year, the money should be paid to the right people who are doing the right work and even the previous month. The resident district commissioner said.

He however requested the team of the health workers to continuing working as the district closely follows up the matter at the ministry.

“I’m requesting the health workers to continue working as we follow the matter up from the ministry.”

The laboratory technicians have so far received a total of Uganda shillings 770,000 each out of the risk allowances in the management of Covid-19 and by the time filing this story, the disgruntled health workers had started work at the point of entry after engagement in series of meeting with Koboko district leaders over the matter..

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: July 16, 2020 at 09:46AM

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