Uganda: Health Officials Accused of Selling Hepatitis B Vaccines

Bulambuli — Residents of Buginyanya Sub-county in Bulambuli District have accused the health workers attached to Buginyanya Health Centre III of extorting money from them when they visit the facility for Hepatitis B vaccination.

The residents said they are asked to pay before they are vaccinated against the disease.

They made the remarks on Saturday during a baraza (meeting) organised by the Office of the Prime Minister at Buginyanya Primary School playground.

Ms Oliver Nabukonde, the chairperson of Kidodi Village, said when she visited the facility to get vaccinated, she was asked for money by the health workers yet Hepatitis B vaccination is supposed to be given freely.

"I went to the facility but was shocked when I was asked for money. I decided to go back home. I have never visited there again," she said.

She said many of her village subjects have reported to her office, accusing health workers of extorting money from them.

"Most of our people can't afford to get the required money and yet we always hear on media that the vaccination is free," she said.

Ms Jessica Neumbe, another resident, said they have reported their concern to the district leaders but they have never intervened.

"Our issues are not listened to by our leaders. This is a government facility but it operates like a private unit," she said.

The health facility serves close to 12,000 people in the four sub-counties of Buginyanya, Bumugibole, Masila and Luhya.

Mr John Kiwagalo, a father of six children, said the health workers demanded Shs30,000 to vaccinate all his children.

Mr Richard Waniala, the officer-in-charge of the facility, said it is true there was one of their staff, whom he did not name, who was charging residents money for Hepatitis B vaccination.

"I got the information and the said health worker was summoned and disciplined. We have since opened a suggestion box for you to report such cases if they reoccur," he said.

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