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Health Workers Abandon Duty at Kitgum General Hospital

But Dr Geoffrey Okello, the Acting Medical Superintendent at Kitgum General Hospital says the health workers stopped reporting to the facility almost a week ago, after indicating that they intended to conduct immunization and other activities in Padwong.
Locals queue for health services at Pandwong Health Center III in Pandwong Health Center III in Kitgum Municipality. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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At least six health workers from Pandwong Health Centre III who were temporarily working at Kitgum General Hospital have abandoned the duty station.

The health workers had been incorporated among staffs of Kitgum General Hospital in April this year after the district COVID-19 task-force turned Pandwong Health Center III into a COVID-19 quarantine centre.

But Dr Geoffrey Okello, the Acting Medical Superintendent at Kitgum General Hospital says the health workers stopped reporting to the facility almost a week ago, after indicating that they intended to conduct immunization and other activities in Padwong.

According to Okello, the health officials didn’t heed to advice to halt the planned activities and have since abandoned duty. He says the health centre they intend to resume working at is still closed for public use since its functioning as a quarantine centre.

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Uganda Radio Network has however established that the health workers abandoned Kitgum General Hospital almost two weeks ago after a series of complaints raised by the Pandwong Division leaders and the Kitgum Municipal Council officials that the health facility was losing its ranking.

For instance, the officials said that the hospital is currently trailing in rankings for utilization of drugs, immunization services and outpatient attendance which may see it lose funding. Pandwong Division LCIII Chairperson Raymond Ocan told URN in an interview on Saturday that a resolution was made to ensure that operation of the health centre is reinstated.

He notes that turning Pandwong Health Center III into a quarantine centre had cut off medical services to several vulnerable groups in the area forcing them to foot hefty bills on medical treatment and transport elsewhere. According to Ocan, the COVID-19 task-force has also failed to erect a fence at the quarantine centre since March to safeguard the local community from risk of exposure.

The Kitgum District Health Officer Dr Alex Olwedo, however, observed that the behaviour of the health workers was influenced by political leaders who have been pushing for the resumption of services at the health facility well aware that it is serving as a COVID-19 quarantine centre.

The Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech maintains that the centre will still be used as a quarantine centre unless a separate unit is identified. At least 37 COVID-19 suspects out of which one person tested positive to the contagion underwent quarantine at Pandwong Health Center III. The facility currently has no suspects in quarantine.