A month after medical workers at Lira Regional Referral Hospital went on strike to protest non-payment of their allowances, health workers in Amolatar district have threatened to follow suit.
The 200-plus workers were recruited in October last year to beef up medical services in the new district. They claim that since their recruitment five months ago they have not been paid. They say attempts to get answers from the district authorities have been futile.
Ben Otim, the Amolatar Chief Administrative Officer, says the delays in payment have been caused by bureaucracy in the public service. He says the salaries have not yet been released, but will be paid in arrears as soon as all the medical workers have their jobs verified by the Public Service Commission.
Otim urges the medical workers to be patient as the salary is processed.
Fears of the fallout over the impending strike are prompting the intervention of several district leaders. The Resident District Commissioner, Yekko Ongora Atwai, says he will investigate why money disbursed by the Ministry of Finance before the 28th of every month hasn't reached Amolatar. He reasons that although some of the medical workers are still on probation, they should receive remuneration for their work.
In the Lira Hospital strike last month, 11 patients died due to the lack of medical care. The strikers were widely condemned for neglecting their patients, but medical workers in Amolatar say that although they don't want a repeat of the Lira incident, they deserve their pay.