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Virika Hospital Board of Trustees to Solve Staff Grievances

On Tuesday more than about 60 staff laid down their tools protesting poor working conditions.
Msgr Isaiah Mayombo issued the statement on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

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The Board of Trustees Virika Hospital tolook into staff grievances. .  On Tuesday more than about 60 staff laid down their tools protesting poor working conditions.

The staff stormed the home of Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal Diocese demanding an audience with him.

After about 30 minutes of interaction, Muhiirwa asked them to go back to the hospital, promising that he was to meet the different heads of department to forge a way forward.    

Victoria Kaganzi, a midwife at the hospital, said they used to work for eight hours a day but with the sacking of their colleagues, they remained very few and are now working for 12 hours daily without lunch or any incentive added to them. This, she added, is on top of non-remittance of their National Social Security Fund- NSSF for close to a year.  

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Kaganzi also said they have learnt that the hospital is set to have a new director who will be earning 13 million shillings monthly yet, as midwives, they are earning 380,000 shillings, something she termed as unfair.    

After the meeting, the staff representatives declined to speak to our reporter, saying they were rushing to the hospital to resolve their issues and they did not want the media’s presence.  

The Vicar General Fort Portal Diocese, Msgr Isaiah Mayombo said the meeting was fruitful because they have agreed to look into the concerns of the staff. He also said the staff have promised to resume work, though he did not tell a time frame in which they planned to address the challenges.

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By the time of filing this report, some staff had returned to work, while others were still in the staff quarters. 

Last week, unknown people wrote an 18-page document with several issues and dropped copies at each of the departments at the facility.   It was also copied to Muhiirwa who is also the Chairperson Hospital board of directors.

In the document, which our reporter has seen, the authors noted that the hospital is now a “sinking ship with no lifesavers on board” because its director Dr Sr Priscilla Busingye left.  

“It is important to note that she left a lot of money on the hospital accounts including the reserve account with the hospital having no any debts but as of now,  the hospital has accumulated a lot of debts worth 800 million [shillings] plus exclusive of staff NSSF funds,” reads its part.    

The other challenges highlighted included introduction of the Clinic Master System of capturing patients’ information, which they said has many flaws and efforts to have it rectified have been futile.

“This system requires an annual license for every user worth lots of money which has led to an increase in unnecessary expenditure,” the document reads. 

Virika hospital was constructed by Catholic missionaries over 100 years ago and it is one of the two Church founded hospitals in Fort Portal City after Kabarole Hospital which was founded by the Anglican Church.