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Zombo Health Workers Under Fire Over Gross  Misconduct

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By Mike Rwothomio
Leaders in Zombo district have directed scathing criticism at most health workers of  Paidha Health Center III  in  Paidha Town Council , following a damning  report  about their open misconduct to patients at the facility.

Established in 1924, Paidha Health Center III,  that is a few kilometers from Eastern  DR Congo, is the only running destination to over 40,000 people  from the business_ Oriented town and other neighboring Sub-Counties of Nyapea, Paidha, Abanga, Athuma amongst others.

However, Concerns started brewing from a sizeable members of the community, over relentless misconduct of most health workers thus the need for immediate crisis meeting. The meeting was convened by leaders of paidha town council ,   the staff and some district officials on the 7th of August .

How it started 

On the 1st  of June this year, An expectant mother is said to have been denied access to the maternity ward by a mid wife on duty  in the evening , when her condition deteriorated. She   reported a case at Paidha town council, This according to the leaders opened a can of worm on series of  injustices happening at the facility.

The leaders claim for long, there  has been public choruses of accusations against specific workers at the facility, who have been subjecting  mothers,  and other patients to all forms of abuses for ages.

Albert Onega, The secretary social services Paidha Town Council ,also the male councilor for PWDs in Paidha said, the woman who was  stopped by a mid wife from accessing the maternity ward reported a case to the council whilst weeping.

“Most of these workers wants to kill our people, how can you bar an expectant mother from accessing A maternity ward, the woman came to us crying and what if something bad happened to her, we need the district to take those not interested to move away from this place” Onega said.

Princess Kristober,  the district female youth councilor directed  scathing  criticism  towards midwives at the facility.
She added that most health workers are paid hefty salaries by the government and yet they are failing to serve people diligently.

” You women at the maternity ward I don’t know whether your trained to be so rude like that, but you should learn to give service , it’s your roles and duty, your being paid the tax players money.” She stressed

Debate about unacceptable behavior of most health workers at Paidha Health Center III has become a talking point amongst local leaders at funerals, churches and market places. Emilio Owonda, The chairperson of the associations of LC1s in Paidha Town Council opened a can of worm on  theft of government drugs at the facility that he said has become a song and a dance including other unethical behaviors.

” Drugs are getting lost here, most of your behaviors are questionable and your saying we politicians don’t know anything, what do you want us to do when our people are suffering, you want us to just look on. You were brought here to serve and no one will stop us “. He said.

Uganda loses 15 women each day from pregnancy and child birth related causes. Uganda’s maternal mortality rate is evidently  high, at 343 per 100,000 live births. This according to experts is attributed to myriad of factors which Amongst others include behavioral misconducts of some  staff.

Francis Bolingo who  sits in the social services committee, and the district councilor of Athuma sub county said what communities have detailed  about gross misconduct of some staff at Paidha Health Center III is  absolutely true. He said its  high time those specific workers are sent away from the facility instead of risking people’s lives. He added that the district social services committee is in full knowledge of the errant staff at the facility.

Bolingo also expressed furry at the unhygienic behavior of health workers at the maternity  ward claiming that during their recent inspection, the section was oozing shocking and unwelcoming stench, yet it was  under the supervision of senior  staff on duty.

“The RDC , Secretary social services, district councilors and the mayor, if these people are not performing just like they are doing here, we can retire them in public interest such that they don’t complicate  lives of our people.”He Said.

The most accused department are the Maternity ward and admission. The appointed chairperson health unit management committee  Wilson Oaikani, has been accused  by leaders of  sleeping on his  job. Its high time those not interested in serving the community left Paidha health center III said  Sadiki Onencan,  the District councilor of Paidha town council.

He also lashed at the health workers  who were at the meeting boasting about their experience and education level .

“The women are coming for antenatal here but these people are insulting, beating them that their petty coat is dirty, they are smelling and these are tax payers , what we are saying as Paidha, no one will intimidate  us and our mothers , whoever know that he or she cannot work in Paidha should pack and leave Paidha in peace” He Said.

Paidha health center III  welcomes over 100 in the out patient department daily,  and leaders say this is the only department that is doing the work diligently amidst challenges. The  LC3 chairperson of paidha town council innocent Godfrey onega revealed that,  relatives of politicians are shunning the facility due to soaring  relationship between politicians and health staff over service delivery demand.

He maintained that as leaders, they will not bow  to pressure from the health workers who are employed by the government to serve the community.

” No one will intimidate us, but we also want to say the lives of our families to seek health services here is under question because once somebody can’t understand that he or she is at the wrong and instead appointing accusing fingers instead of being apologetic, then you should really question the integrity of such a person” Onega Said .

On several occasions, community have been voicing serious concerns  about absence of health workers at the facility even during day time. It’s said after 1:00 Pm, Most health workers depart the facility leaving patients with the crisis of confidence. It become hellish  in the night hours where even workers on duty are a no show on daily basis.

The leaders also expressed concerns  over what they said  failed administration of the facility by those mandated by law to keep the institution afloat. The in-charge of the facility Mark Oyungrwoth, Is the District  coordinator of National Drug Authority. Leaders have bitterly complained of this saying, he is getting overwhelmed due to this shared responsibilities.

The  relentless unethical behaviors of most health workers at  Paidha Health Center III is making many people to look for alternatives. Others are going to various  affordable various clinics and drug shops in the town,  whilst the impoverished ones  resort to herbalists  and traditional birth attendants.

Paidha Health Center III  in Paidha Town Council  is amongst the heavily burdened  six  government owned health center IIIs along the international borders with DR Congo in Zombo.

What the health workers say.

Following battery of these accusations against health workers at Paidha Health Center III,Most started playing defensive. Draru Jane, The focal person for maternity ward blamed the District Health Officer for recruiting worst midwives as being claimed.

She also blamed politicians For peddling lies before recommending that they start recruiting their own people.

” It’s very unfortunate that the District Health Officer gathered all the worst midwives in Uganda through interviews and came and poured them in Paidha , I don’t know what he was all about” The frustrated Draru scoffed at the District Health Officer and Politicians.

A health worker also attributed some of the challenges to the staffing gap at the facility.

Wilson Oaikani, The chairperson Paidha Health Unit management committee who was accused of sleeping on his job instead throw blame at Politicians for ” peddling baseless accusations at the staff”. He threatened to resigned citing harsh working environment .

What the law says

In 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled that  the Government of Uganda should  provide basic maternal health care services and emergency obstetric care in public health facilities. It also recommended  the prioritization  and provision of  sufficient funds in the national budget for maternal health care and also directed the  Health Minister, that all the health care workers who provide maternal health care services in Uganda be fully trained and all health centers be properly equipped.

4-10 expectant mothers in  Zombo delivers from home due to several factors.

Out of the District Population of  294,230, Women of productive age  are 59, 434 and the expected annual pregnancy rate is 14,712 with delivery expectation of 14,123 according to a 2022  report from the District Health Department.

According to the District Health Officer of Zombo Mark Bramali, recently three mothers were made to deliver on the floor of maternity ward, and this  resulted into a mother suffocating  her  child to death .This was as a result of misconduct.

He also  acknowledged some of the  concerns raised before  calling  for a “mindset change” amongst the staff some of which  are tarnishing names of other competent staff at the facility.

The Deputy Resident District Commissioner of Zombo Grace Atim said the meeting was convened following a public outcry about gap in service delivery at Paidha Health Center III and she noted that the most accused department is the maternity ward. She believed with the engagement done , changes will be made to reduce the number of people who seek services from clinics and traditional birth attendants.

Paidha health center III that has been earmarked for upgrade to health center IV ,  serves thousands of Population from Paidha town,  Other  neighboring Sub counties and some parts Eastern DR Congo.

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