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Absentee Health Workers: Residents Stage Protests

Nakaseta Health caters for more than 3000 residents from Nakaseta, Nsakabusolo, Lukabala and Bukuku parishes.
The Protestors sharing porridge they cooked at the Health Center during thier protests

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More than 200 residents besieged Nakaseta Health Center 11 in Nakaseke and closed it to protest the rampant absenteeism of health workers. They accused the four medical workers deployed at the health center of absenteeism and neglect of their work, which has affected service delivery. They are Jacob Mukasa, the in charge of the health center, Maimuna Najjemba midwife, Norah Nassuna and a security guard Isma Ssewaki. They also accused Aidah Nakaye, the Nakaseke District Health Officer for failing to supervise and take action on the officials.

By 3pm on Wednesday, none of the health workers had reported for work despite the fact that residents were camped in compound. Nakaseta Health caters formore than 3000 residents from Nakaseta, Nsakabusolo, Lukabala and Bukuku parishes. Jackson Bassajja, a resident of Nakaseta village says he waited to the medical workers for several hours when his son was involved in a nasty accident in vain, forcing his to trek kilometers to Kiwoko hospital. He says that the medical workers are always seen going on with their personal businesses when they are expected to be treating residents.

Joyce Nalutaaya, a mother in Nakaseta village says that she was stuck last year when she went for delivery at the health center as there was no body to attend to her. Nalutaaya says that she had to trek to Nakaseke Hospital to get medical attention despite the labor pains she was feeling. She wants government to consider paying its workers a wage depending on how many hours they have worked to curb rampant absenteeism. Peter Ssentamu explains that with support from the district they constructed houses and installed them with solar power, but the health workers have shunned the houses. He says that the medical workers report for work at mid day and leave before 3pm, which they can no longer tolerate.  

Ssentamu wants the medical workers fired from the health center because they have failed to live to expectation. James Makande, the LC III chairperson Kasangombe Sub County claims that due to absenteeism of Health workers, drugs are expiring in the store despite the fact that patients are in need of medicine. Makande says that they have forwarded the residents’ complaints to district Health Officer Aidah Nakaye on several occasions for appropriate action but nothing has been done.

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Ignatius Koomu Kiwanuka, the Nakaseke LC V chairperson who rushed to the health center pleaded with residents to calm down, and promised to follow up on their concerns. Kiwanuka confirmed receiving numerous complaints over rampant absenteeism at Ssemuto Health Center IV , Bulyake Health Center, Mifunya Health Center and school in the district. He however faults Joyce Loyce Nambozo, the Nakaseke chief Administrative Officer of failing to take action.

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The implicated health workers and district health officer Aidah Nakaye have not yet commented on the allegations against them, as none of them could be reached by URN. Their known mobile phone numbers were off by the time of filing this story.