BY TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY
Health workers at Pajule Health Centre IV, Japule sub-county, Pader district on Monday locked the facility’s gate from patients and laid down their tools in protest of lack of personal protective gears at the facility.
It was established that a consignment of hand gloves and face masks were last delivered at the facility in February and its health workers have since been battling the lack of hand gloves and face masks since March when the government imposed a lockdown.
“For two months now, we have been gathering excess masks and gloves from other smaller health facilities in the district to help us work but that has ceased to be sustainable since every facility is facing scarcity now,” a health worker at the facility who requested for anonymity said.
“Time came when we conditioned patients to buy masks for us to work on them but the price has risen from Shs500 a pair to now Shs3,000,” she added.
Mr Okello Tito Brilliant, Pajule LC3 chairman told Daily Monitor that their attempts to intervene and convince the health workers to resume work was futile.
“Patients were not accessing the facility when the closed it down. Those in admission and those who were already inside at the time the gate closed, became stranded the moment they (staff) picked their chairs and sat under the mango tree,” Mr Okello said.
He added that “they told me that their lives were at risk and were not willing to continue with the work unless the lacking personal protective gears are availed to the facility. I advised them to keep within the facility while they protest.”
Meanwhile, Dr Celestino Layoo, the Pader district health officer in an interview confirmed the protest by health workers adding that general services at the outpatient unit of the facility were greatly affected.
“By yesterday, there was no single glove or face masks for them to use, even the few we borrowed for them from other health facilities were used up and this put the lives of these health workers at risk during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Layoo said.
According to him, the shortage resulted from delays be National Medical Stores to deliver supplies of such materials to the facility.