Over 200 patients are stranded at Mukono general hospital following a strike by health workers over poor working conditions and delayed salaries. The health workers laid down their tools on Thursday morning a day after one of their colleagues succumbed to COVID-19.
William Mule, who was the coordinator of laboratory technicians in Mukono district, died on Wednesday morning while being transferred from Kiruddu hospital to Mulago National Referral hospital for further management. The health workers say they can’t continue working without personal protective equipment (PPEs), which exposes them to infection.
They also accuse the district of reluctance to effect their monthly salary despite the fact that workers in other health units have been cleared.
The workers who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity say they would have used their salary to buy PPEs as they wait for the government supplies. Despite showing up at the hospital, the health workers are not attending to patients.
Geoffrey Kasirye, the medical superintendent Mukono General hospital has acknowledged the challenges affecting his medical team, saying he is trying to engage them in their departments to attend to patients. He explains that the delayed payment of workers this month is a result of the struggle to change the management of the hospital from the municipality to the district. The health workers have been receiving payment before the 22nd of every month.
Dr. Steven Mulindwa, the Mukono district health officer, says the hospital often receives PPEs much as they are always inadequate. He appeals to the health workers to utilize the few available PPEs as the district lobbies for more.
Mukono district chief administrative officer, James Nkata has appealed for calm from the health workers as they process their payment. He says their pay for this month will be effected under the municipality before they transfer bank account into the district system.