In 2006, World Vision and Ministry of Health trained 16 HIV/Aids volunteers to offer counseling, mobilize people living with HIV/Aids to get ARVs and carry out HIV/Aids sensitization amongst other activities.
16 HIV/Aids volunteers in Nakasongola district have abandoned work over lack of allowances and alleged mistreatment by health workers. In 2006, World Vision and Ministry of Health trained 16 HIV/Aids volunteers to offer counseling services, mobilize people living with HIV/Aids for ARV treatment and carry out HIV/Aids sensitization amongst others activities. The volunteers were deployed at Nakasongola Health Center 1V to supplement the work of the few medical workers.
However, 6 years after, the volunteers have laid down their tools citing lack of allowances and mistreatment by medical workers. Andrew Mbemeezi, one of the volunteers explains that they decided to lay down their tools after failing to secure lunch and transport allowances to enable them survive on duty. He says that they are expected to report for duty every Tuesday at 7:30am and work till late, but they are neither given lunch nor transport allowance.
Mbemeezi says that some of the volunteers were hit hard by the lack of lunch because they are also HIV positive, who need to eat well. He says that they petitioned Gerald Ssekito, the Nakasongola District Health Officer to look into their concerns but nothing was done. Jane Nakatte, another volunteer says that she has been spending more than shillings 15,000 on transport from her home to the health center as well as supervising patients in distant areas.
She says that the heavy transport cost impacted heavily on her family budget because she has to provide fees and financial needs of her family. Nakatte says that she has decided to resign to engage in personal duties for her survival. Lovisa Najjemba, another volunteer accuses the medical workers of mistreating them and failure to appreciate their role. Najjemba says that whenever they would error in their reports the medical workers would blast them publically and call them idiots.
She explains that such mistreatment coupled with no pay demoralized her forcing her to resign from her volunteer work. The volunteers have vowed not to return to work unless Ministry of Health pays them a daily allowance of shillings 30,000 and offers them bicycles to facilitate their transport. The resignation of the volunteers has hit hard HIV patients.
Some of the patients who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimized say that they now spend a full day at the health center to access drugs compared to half a day, when the volunteers were working. One of the patients asked the ministry to look into the grievances of the volunteers for better service delivery. Gerald Ssekito, the Nakasongola District Health Officer says he is not aware of the resignation of the volunteers, but insists that they agreed to work without pay. He says that district lacks funds to meet the demands of the volunteers.
ministry of health
lack of transport and lunch