The Observer (Kampala)

13 November 2012

Uganda: Gulu Hospital Staff Unpaid for Six Months

Up to 102 employees at Gulu regional referral hospital have complained that they have not been paid salary for six months, forcing them to survive on loans and/or liven on one meal a day.

"We have raised this issue for several times but it has never been solved. We love our patients but working without pay for all these months is impossible," Yolanda Aciro, a nurse stated.

Patrick Ekisa, the general secretary for the regional medical workers union, was upset that although most medical workers had not been paid there were exceptions.

"Surprisingly the top officials are not affected and it is only these other lower-level staff that do not get their pay regularly," he said.

The workers recently threatened to call a strike to ask for their pay but were forced to return to work for fear of dismissal.

"Some of us are on interdiction and our names have been deleted [from the payroll] and for you to talk about whatever actions they are doing, you are transferred forcefully," said one medical worker.

The hospital staff accuse the administration of being rude to the terrified workers.

"The whole purpose of transfer of staff was very good, it was done if an officer had stayed in an area for so long, but these transfers are done to those who are at loggerheads with the administration," said Mark Onzima, a health worker who was recently transferred to Moroto.

But the hospital director Dr Nathan Onyaci says that the salary problem is a countrywide issue.

"We asked them to send in their account numbers but it seems some digits, especially the last ones were omitted for everyone but this one was rectified. So I have asked them to wait because I also received my pay recently and I called other hospitals like Mbale and Masaka and they are all having similar problems of pay," Onyaci said.

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