Unqualified Health Workers Take Over Treatment in Ntoroko

According to the report, some of the health center workers are not trained to treat people and have no idea about the medicine they prescribe to patients.

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Unqualified health workers are administering treatment to patients in Ntoroko district putting lives at risk. A report compiled by the coalition of CSOs on health in the Rwenzori region, indicates that the unqualified health workers operate in major health facilities in the district. The report follows complaints received by the CSO from residents who accused some of the health centers of not providing adequate treatment.

The report also reveals that relatives of some medical workers and casual laborers in the district have also taken to administering treatment to patients in health facilities in the district. According to the report, some of the health center workers are not trained to treat people and have no idea about the medicine they prescribe to patients. The most affected are Rwebisengo, Kanara, Itojo, Rwangara health centre IIIs, Karugutu, Nombe health centre IIs. Fred Baluku, a resident of Rwebisengo town council says that he isn’t surprised by the contents of the report.

According to Baluku, he has in the past fallen victim to unqualified and incompetent personnel. Baluku says three months ago, he took his children to Rwebisengo health centre III but the medical workers didn’t bother to find out what they were suffering from, but prescribed anti-malarial tablets. He says that three days later, they were rushed to Bundibugyo hospital, where he was told by the medical workers that she had been given wrong medication.

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Gloria Kemigisa, a resident of Karugutu town council blames the district health authorities of looking on as the unqualified personnel are being employed in government facilities. Francis Baguma, the acting district Director of health services disputes the report but doesn’t rule out the presence of unqualified people in some health facilities. Baguma however blames it on the shortage of medical workers. Baguma says that last year, the district advertised positions of 15 midwives, 3 medical officers and 10 clinical officers but they didn’t receive any applicants.

Baguma says the health department is understaffed with only 20% of the required staff available, which is against the national average of 65% of the heath staffing. He says this has greatly affected the functionality and operation of the health centers in the district as they continue to provide poor services. He says that some seven nurses left the district for other jobs citing lack of accommodation and often complained of fatigue and lack of rest. He also says some health workers claimed that it's impossible for them to work for longer hours because they have to travel long distances to get back to their homes.

Gerald Mugume, the coordinator Rwenzori CSOs on health and sanitation says that the number employment of unqualified personnel could be high in districts in the region. Mugume wants the Ministry of Health to intervene and improve the working conditions of the health workers, which will stop employment of unqualified workers.