Virika Hospital Staff Lay Down Tools

The about 60 staff marched to the Residence of Bishop Robert Mubiirwa of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese who is also the Chairperson Board of Trustees.
Msgr Mayombo talking to the staff at Muhiirwa's residence in Fort Portal.
Virika Hospital staff in Fort Portal Tourism City on Tuesday morning laid down their tools, protesting poor working conditions at the facility.

The about 60 staff marched to the residence of Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese who is also the Chairperson Board of Trustees. 

Among the issues is the low salary that they say is also paid late, non-payment of National Social Security Fund - NSSF, drug stock-outs and employment of staff without advertisement which they say is irregular and leads to the employment of unqualified staff. 

The staff also say that 66 of their colleagues were, without explanation, laid off after Covid-19 outbreak last year and they were never replaced.

Victoria Kaganzi, a midwife at the catholic-founded hospital, explains that after the dismissal of their colleagues, the working hours increased from eight to 12, though without an increase in their salaries.

Kaganzi also says that they got information that the hospital is about to recruit a new Medical Director who will be earning 13 Million Shillings yet the former one was earning about 4 Million Shillings and they are also getting peanuts. 

As a result, the staff say they are being accused of failure to attract patients to the hospital yet they are working under poor conditions and not well motivated. 

Before the march to the Bishop, unknown people had written an 18-page letter and dropped a number of its copies in the different hospital departments detailing the same issues. 

The authors of the letter gave the management an ultimatum of three days to respond but the hospital management did not heed. 

By 6 am on Tuesday, another anonymous letter had been written asking the staff to lay down their tools and march to the bishop.

"Remain behind at your own risk. The effects will be irreversible and your life will be in danger," reads part of the document. 

While at the Bishop's residence, the staff remained locked outside his gate until the Vicar General Msgr Isaiah Mayombo turned up and led them inside.

The bishop told them to remain calm as he meets the different hospital heads for a way forward. Mayombo also told the journalists that they will issue a statement after the meeting. 

Currently, the hospital is still locked and no patients are being admitted while the staff are in their quarters. 

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. 


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