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Soroti Health Workers Lay Down Tools Over Lack of Masks, Gloves

The health workers at Princess Diana Health Centre IV have gone on a sit-down strike protesting lack of protective masks.

Dr Alfred Anyonga, the in-charge of the facility, said his staff commenced a sit down strike on Monday when they ran short of masks and gloves for use in the theatre, maternity ward and out patients department (OPD).

He said that the facility has been relying on borrowed masks and gloves from the district health office, the Aids support organization (TASO) and quarantine centre at the nurse’s training school.

“We have been receiving an average of 20 pieces of masks weekly from the district health office against 34 staffs working on daily basis and in some occasions we are forced to borrow from TASO and quarantine centre but it has reached such a difficult time when they can give to us no more,” He said.

Adding that “From the time the lock down started, Princess Diana has not been receiving supplies of protective gear in adequate quantities from government and yet this is a critical time of corona virus when we need masks for protection,”.

Dr Anyonga said that the condition has forced him to deploy skeleton staffs to operate in few numbers as they wait for government’s response to provide adequate protective gear.

According to him, the facility currently receives a high influx of patients ranging between 180 and 230 patients per day unlike in the past when they used to get an average of less than 150 patients in a day.

For purposes of proper delivery of services, he believes that during this time of corona virus, the facility requires at least a minimum of 300 pieces of masks for use on weekly basis unlike in the past when 100 pieces were enough.

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He said that the face masks and other protective gears are part of the vital necessity in the health facility that helps in the prevention of infectious diseases from patients to the health workers and vice versa.

The principle health officer Soroti municipality Dr Moses Andakun when contacted declined to comment claiming that he is not an accounting officer.

Mr Moses Otimong, the town clerk Soroti municipality, said that the district task force is working along the clock to settle the matter.

“This is not actually a strike but it’s a concern, I was served with notice from the facility raising matters of delayed payment of corona virus risk allowances for the diploid staffs and luck of masks in the facility which the task force is already handling of which I hear that 100 masks shall be delivered by the DHO’s office,” Mr Otimong said.

The district health officer (DHO) Dr Charles Stephen Okadhi when contacted said that he was busy to comment on the matter.

Mr William Wilberforce Tukei the resident district commissioner (RDC) Soroti said that the task force has already addressed the concerns of health workers at facility.

“I want to believe that they are now working because the DHO and the CAO visited the facility and discussed modalities of bridging the gaps,” he said.

Adding that, the issue of inadequacy of masks is not only a problem of Princess Diana health centre IV but to all facilities.

However, one of the patients Ms Joyce Asano of Madera ward, Northern division Soroti municipality said that the doctors were not attending to patients.

“I have been coming here for the last two days for antenatal care, but we are left to sit here until evening without being attended to,” Ms Asano said.

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