Eleven Health Workers Arrested in Busia for Abuse of Office

1993 Views Busia, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
The health workers were arrested after an impromptu inspection visit by the State House Health Monitoring Unit over the weekend. The visit was aimed at monitoring health service delivery in various health facilities across the district.

Police in Busia have arrested 11 health workers for alleged abuse of office.

The health workers were arrested after an impromptu inspection visit by the State House Health Monitoring Unit over the weekend. The visit was aimed at monitoring health service delivery in various health facilities across the district.

A team led by Brian Arinaitwe, the assistant director of the State House Health Monitoring Unit held meetings with communities before undertaking the inspection of the health facilities.

In the meeting, locals accused the health workers of selling government drugs to patients, absenteeism, and mistreatment of patients, extortion and stealing of drugs among others. The communities were able to identify some of the implicated health workers.

According to Arinaitwe, the visit unleashed rot at Masafu Health Center IV and Bulumbi health center III.

Only five out of the more than 20 health workers were found on duty at Masafu Health Center IV, which also serves as the district hospital. The facility did not have basic medicines in stock yet they had just been delivered by the National Medical Stores. Patients here also complained of alleged extortion by health workers and sell of drugs to them.

Arinaitwe said that the team recommended the immediate suspension of drug deliveries to Masafu Health center IV until they devise a mechanism of addressing drug theft and sale.

Similar problems were found at Bulumbi Health Center. Here basic drugs like Coartem, which is used for the treatment of malaria and mama kits among others which were delivered the facility last week were found missing.

On the basis of the findings, Arinaitwe ordered for the arrest of Sam Elongat, a Clinic Officer and David Masiga, a Laboratory Assistant, all accused for extortion and selling of drugs to patients.

Meanwhile Lillian Nabwire, a Midwife at Bulumbi Health Center III was also arrested after dozens of mama kits were recovered from her house. Police has declined to name some of the suspects for security reasons. However they are being held at Busia Central Police station as investigation into their matters continue.
 
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On absenteeism, Arinaitwe directed that any health worker who does not work for a minimum of 15 days in a month should not be paid salary.
 
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Dr Lillian Achayo, the Busia District Health Officer blames some of the abuses by some health workers to delayed salaries and lack of motivation among others. She called upon government to play its part and warned the health workers against abuse of government facility.

Kennedy Adhola Otiti, the Busia Resident District Commissioner warned against politicizing service delivery in the district.
 
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The arrest of these health workers comes just a week after President Yoweri Museveni fired nine doctors over alleged absenteeism and late coming. The suspension followed several complaints of poor service delivery at Nakawuka Health Centre III in Busiro, a government hospital. The complaints were lodged by residents of Mpumudde Village in Wakiso District during an impromptu visit to the facility by President Yoweri Museveni.

Among the complaints included regular reports of lack of drugs at the health centre, absenteeism and late coming by the medical workers.
 

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.