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
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.