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Pader Health Workers Strike over Lack of PPEs

About 40 health workers and support staff at the government health facility went on strike on Monday demanding gloves and face masks before resuming duties.
16 Jun 2020 15:07
A sign post for Pader Health Center III in Pader District. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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Health workers at Pajule Health Center IV in Pajule Town Council, Pader District have laid down their tools over lack of personal protective equipment.

About 40 health workers and support staff at the government health facility went on strike on Monday demanding gloves and face masks before resuming duties.

One of the Health workers who preferred anonymity says that the facility has had an irregular supply of hand gloves and masks for the past two months despite several requests they made.

He says the situation worsened in the past week when they completely run out of hand gloves and facemasks, a situation that has put their lives at risks amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can’t continue to work in this situation without protective gears, we fear to lose our lives. Many health workers in the country have now been infected with COVID-19 and we don’t want the same to happen to us. We demand that the district health department arranges for immediate supplies of protective gears,” He said.

Dr Denis Odongkara, the in-charge says that the staff are willing to work but on condition that they get protective gears.

He says medical attention is only being given to emergency cases, those already admitted and expectant women in the maternity ward while outpatient services have been halted.

Dr Alex Layoo, Pader District Health Officer acknowledged that the facility had run short of face masks and gloves.

He, however, notes that the district responded by making emergency supplies of face masks and gloves from consignments that had been delivered for the COVID-19 case management.

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Dr Layoo says they have also raised the matter with National Medical Stores who have confirmed supplies of facemask and hand gloves for two cycles this week.

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Vincent Okello, a resident of Okworo village who had brought his sick wife says he trekked for six kilometres to the facility but was told to return next week since health workers are on strike.

Luo

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Translation “I came to the facility at 8 am but stayed with hunger until midday when the doctor told me to return next week because they are striking. We’re not happy, I came with my sick woman to get a medical card because she can’t get treatment without it, but now they are striking and we wonder where we should go or do they expect her to die…”

By Tuesday morning, the health workers had not resumed work at the health facility as supplies of gloves and face masks had not been delivered.

Dusman Okee, Pader Resident District Commissioner has called for calm from the health workers as they address the challenges.

According to records from the health facility, 100 to 250 patients visit the health centre daily from various parts of Pader district for medical treatment.

Okello called on the urgent intervention of the district health department to supply the health facility with the necessary protective gears to avoid cases of health workers getting infected with the virus.