Residents angry after health workers close up to attend funeral

By Nalwadda Nsangi

Leaders in Arua district have expressed concern over absenteeism among health workers, which they say contributes to poor health service delivery in the district.

This follows an incident on July 29, 2023 where staff at Vurra Health centre III, in Vurra sub-county, locked up the facility to attend a burial ceremony.

The medical officer in charge of the health centre Harris Orionzi said this was done to attend the burial of the child of a member of staff who was buried in Madi Okollo.

The burial party was away for more than three hours.

An apologetic Orionzi said, “This is a normal thing where you support the bereaved family. We know that this health facility is supposed to be operational for 24 hours and we had to leave one person behind which happened to be me to support the facility in aspect of emergencies, but then I also had to step away for lunch.”

But Geoffrey Okiswa, the Resident District Commissioner, says health worker absenteeism has been severally reported in various sub-counties in the district.

‘We have always encouraged our workers to always be in time, to avoid absenteeism as much as possible and late coming. Now, this unfortunate occurrence must be addressed, it is actually equivalent to what I noted when I visited Ajia health centre III some two weeks ago, we had to require the in-charge to make an apology to explain and regret what had happened’ he said.

Okiswa has called upon the chief administrative officer to decisively prevail on the staff to compel them to serve their communities more diligently.

“When these people get the jobs, they always promise to work under minimum supervision, but no sooner do they get the jobs than they start behaving like they are the ordinary villagers without responsibilities,” he added.

Nicholas Ogwang, the chief administrative office of Arua district has vowed to take the matter up and reprimand all those that are culpable

“I’m new in this office,  just two weeks here, but I am going to make sure this does not repeat itself,” he said.



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