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Health Workers Absenteeism Drops to 11.9 Percent

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Dr. Vicent Oketcho, the Chief of Party of IntraHealth International - Uganda, discloses that in some districts such as Iganga, local leaders went further to use the attendance records to make administrative decisions including payment of salaries based on the number of days worked.
A health worker scans his thumb upon reporting to work. A study had indicated that tracking health worker attendence has remarkably reduced the absenteeism rates from 52% in 2014 to 11.9% currently.

Audio 4

Absenteeism of health workers in selected government health facilities across the country has dropped from 50 percent in 2014 to 11.9 percent following the introduction of biometrics access control.

This is contained in the 2016-2017 report on Strengthening Human Resources for Health Activity compiled by IntraHealth International - Uganda, a non-government organization focusing on the health workers' role in improving the health of women and children.

IntraHealth-Uganda has so far installed biometrics access control in 758 health facilities including 14 Regional Referral Hospitals across the country. Dr. Haruna Lule, the Senior Advisor on Human Resource Management IntraHealth International - Uganda, says tracking attendance is the first step in ensuring health workers are present and that staff workloads are equitable. 

He observes the health monitoring system has helped facilities and districts to analyze attendance and make evidence based decisions including appropriate staff rewards and sanctions. He says they are to conduct another survey that will be linking the improved attendance to the service delivery. 

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The report shows that nearly 26 percent of the health workers are absent with approval, which requires administrators to appropriately apportion leave without leaving huge staff gaps.

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Dr. Vicent Oketcho, the Chief of Party of IntraHealth International - Uganda, discloses that in some districts such as Iganga, local leaders went further to use the attendance records to make administrative decisions including payment of salaries based on the number of days worked.  

The Office of the Prime Minister has embraced the program and installed Biometric Finger Print scanners at several health facilities in the country with latest beneficiary being Manafwa district in Eastern Uganda.

Dr. Gideon Wamasebu, the Manafwa District Health Officer observes that late coming, early departure and absenteeism in the district was rampant.

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However, a nurse at Bugobero Health center IV in Manafwa district told Uganda Radio Network that absenteeism and late coming cannot strictly be blamed entirely on health workers.

He observes that most of them reside in Mbale town due to lack of accommodation facilities at the health facility. Staffs at public health facilities have previously blamed the attendance tracking system of failing to capture their attendance.

Dr. Lule confirms receiving such complaints but says they are minimal since the systems have produced reliable results in many parts of the country. 

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