9 November 2018

Uganda: Locals Decry Poor Hygiene At Yumbe Health Centre

Yumbe — Residents of Romogi Sub-county in Yumbe District have expressed disapproval of the sanitation and hygiene standards at Barakala Health Centre lll.

They say the premises of the health facility are bushy and littered with waste in form of plastics and polythene bags and has become a habitat for snakes and rats to hide in.

Mr Hakim Aliga, the youth chairperson of Romogi Sub-county, said the situation at the facility needs to be addressed urgently because patients who come to the health centre are exposed to more risks than they meet at home.

"The sub-county employed cleaners and they are paid monthly. With the current status of the environment in the facility, I don't think the cleaners are doing cleanliness and we want the sub-county authorities to intervene," he said.

Mr Lucio Amanjoruku, one of the cleaners, said much as management talks about quarterly pay, the workers are not paid promptly.

"We finished the first quarter without receiving any single cent yet we have issues of school fees and other family obligations. We don't mind the issue of monthly pay but there is a communication gap among the officials because we are not informed about the delay in first quarter pay," he said.

Mr Pontious Amatre, the in-charge of the facility, said the health centre has two cleaners and the compound is too big to be handled by the two. As a result, last week a snake bite was recorded at the health centre.

He said the main source of the rubbish in the health facility is from the community.

"We don't have a kitchen in the facility but people buy food items from outside [Barakala Health Centre] in polythene bags, plastics and they dump it in the compound of the facility. We shall have a big project for the doctors house at the facility that is why the western part of the facility is bushy, so it is the contractors who are going to clear the area in the process of building the house," he said.

He acknowledged there is delay in payment of their salary, adding that there is need to engage the community to do cleanliness at the health facility as others do in other areas.

The sub-county chief, Mr Sulai Ijosiga, said the employed cleaners are supposed to be paid using the local revenue but the sub-county has limited revenue sources.

"We don't have markets, shops with big capacities to generate for us revenue to handle such issues in the sub-county but we rely on the unconditional grant that comes quarterly from the central government. Our challenge is, we wait for three months and then clear the arrears at once," he said.

Mr Ijosiga added: "If the cleaners are not satisfied with the mode of payment, they should write to us so that we look for different people to replace them. We can't make any miracle and if they want to go, they are free but they shouldn't stress us."

The cleaners are entitled to Shs 60,000 per month which the cleaners say is little.

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