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Luwero Chairman, DHO Disagree Over Ugx 249M COVID-19 Cash

Kibirango explains that the money was released by the office of the Chief Administrative Officer and deposited on private accounts of health workers which may put it a risk of embezzlement .
DHO Dr Innocent Nkonwa and LC 5 Chairman Erastus Kibirango (in middle) together with Woman MP Brenda Nabukenya during thier inspection tour of Luwero hospital

Audio 2



A disagreement has emerged between LC 5 Chairman of Luwero and District Health Officer over the delayed payment of 249.6 million shillings to Village Health teams (VHTs).

In July this year, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development disbursed 249.6 million shillings to Luwero district to pay allowances to Village Health Teams in the fight against COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health directed the district health department to recruit village health teams to monitor COVID-19 patients under home-based care management. Luwero district recruited 3120 VHTs and LC 1 Leaders to conduct the monitoring.

However, the District Health Officer, Dr. Innocent Nkonwa has since blocked payment of allowances to VHTs and LC 1 Chairmen saying they need to first present reports for the visits made to patients.

Dr. Nkonwa says that the reports are needed to form part of accountability of the funds paid to them.

But Erastus Kibirango, the LC 5 Chairman of Luwero district says that the reports are not necessary and some of them VHTs may not be competent enough to write them.

Kibirango explains that the money was released by the office of the Chief Administrative Officer and deposited on private accounts of health workers which may put it a risk of embezzlement .

Kibirango added that the VHTs have done so much in the past and such bureaucracies in accessing meager allowances may lead many to lose interest in further assignments. He also wondered why he is also paid an allowance for COVID-19 meetings yet he doesn’t produce any report, but wondered why the VHTs who earn peanuts are tasked to produce reports.

But Dr. Nkonwa insists that he can’t risk paying VHTs who have no reports because in past such accountabilities have been queried by the office of Auditor General.

Dr. Nkonwa added that those who are unable to write the reports, should atleast write down names of COVID-19 patients whom they have visited and hand them to his office before they process their payments.

Lydia Kasozi, the Village Health Team member for Kakokoolo village in Luwero town says that she has visited 13 COVID-19 patients under home-based care management and as well attended village meetings to sensitize the residents about the pandemic.

She however says that at the start of the programme, they were not informed that they will be paid after presenting reports.

Kasozi adds that the district has since sent the reporting templates and they are in process of filling them so that they are paid.

Luganda

Cue in: “Information eyo…

Cue out;…ku kyalo kyaffe.”//

Namugera Nkokonyole, the LC 1 Chairman of Kakokoolo village says that he has organized five meetings where they have worked with VHTs to sensitise residents about COVID-19. He appealed to the district to pay the allowances because they are overdue.

Luganda

// Cue in; “Tubadde tulina …

Cue out;…lumima mawugwe.”//

Other VHTs also complained that the district allocated little allowances to them compared to a neighboring district. Each VHT is expected to get 80,000 shillings as allowances for the exercise.

The district health department intends to disburse 400, 000 per each village to be shared among five VHTs including the LC 1 Chairman.

Friday Kyomya, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Luwero district said that the district will find a way and pay the VHTs before Monday next week.

He however didn’t explain whether they will be paid before presenting reports or not.