Incompetence of Support Staff (Porters and Watchmen) at health centers

Transparency International Uganda

Porters and watchmen are employed at each health center in Uganda by Ministry of health. Porters are tasked to keep and maintain hygiene of surroundings of their respective health centers. Noticeably these support staff are recruited from the same locality of the health centers, none of them has ever experienced transfers. It has been noted that these individuals according to Health center in-charge at Agulurude Mr. Opio Daniel Patrick, have managed to draw the local community on their side to the extent at which when they are being urged or warned to improve their performance, they claim to the community that they are being witch-hunted; community members have ended up believing in them than acknowledging that the porters who are paid by the government have failed to perform their duties; failure to understand the roles of porters have made some patients’ care takers to participate in health center cleaning.

In Lira District Amach health center IV and Barr Health Center III are under poor hygiene due to outstanding indiscipline of porters, the porters want always to be seen as medical/health workers but not cleaners; they feel belittled to be cleaning the health center while community members see them; yet that wasn’t what they first considered when they first applied for the job. Mr. Okwir Joe according to the health center In-charge  (Michael) of Amach health center has continuously failed to change and perform his duties as expected.  The next step he/Michael together with health management committee are hoping for is to write a warning letter to Okwir Joe and copy it to District health officer, the chief administrative officer and Transparency International Uganda. TIU pledged to follow-up and see into it that action is taken by the relevant authorities.

In oyam district, Ameny Ambrose and Ojok Tonny who are both porters  together with Ayini Dickens (Watchman) at Agulurude health center III have repeatedly abandoned their duty, as a result the health management committee convened a meeting on 28th November 2011 and collectively wrote a letter to the DHO  (Dr. Owiny) complaining of “very poor work performances of support staff”, the letter was copied to the culprits, CAO and Sub County Chief Loro. TIU got reach of this document during health center visits and is engaging district health authorities to take actions.

TIU within its program activities is going to empower communities by conducting radio talk-shows in one of the local FM stations in Northern Uganda once every week. The talk-show will involve participation from community health users (calling in), district health officers, health workers, support staff, partner organizations and local leaders together with TIU to have joint contribution towards attaining results.