Laying on the veranda of Otwee Health Centre III in Amuru Town Council are the patients who visited the Health Centre on the 9th May 2013 to access medical services. However, it was unfortunate that there was no health worker at that time to attend to them. Having no alternative, the patients wait patiently for the health workers who end up reporting for duty at leisure. It clocks mid-day and no health centre staff has yet reported for duty.
Patients at Otwee Health Centre III in Amuru Town Council, Amuru District waiting for Otwee health workers at the Out Patient Department (OPD) to attend to them.
Luckily enough for the other patients was the presence of a WOUGNET Voluntary Social Accountability Committee (VSAC) member, Mr. Pegene Morris from Amoikoma Ward, who had also been in the queue waiting for a health centre staff to attend to him since he too was unwell.
Having waited for a long time and being empowered by WOUGNET to fight corruption, monitor and report poor service delivery within their communities, Pegene Morris headed for the office of the Resident District Commission (RDC) Amuru, Cap. James Mugisha and informed him of what was happening. He told the RDC that patients were crowded at the health centre and there was no health worker to attend to them. The RDC immediately contacted the District Police Commander (DPC) and the two headed to the Health Centre premise to verify the information reported to his office.
On reaching the Health Centre premise, the RDC and DPC found patients laying while groaning with pain on the floor of the Health Centre Out-Patients’ Department (OPD) helpless; others were seated under the veranda with tears rolling down from their eyes waiting for the health workers to attend to them.
On hearing/seeing that the RDC and DPC were at the health unit, some medical staff started dashing for duty though this could not save them at such a time. Touched by the patients’ expression and cry for help at the health centre, the RDC and DPC embarked on a hunt and arrest of some of the staff who were still within their premises and those who had just reported for duty at mid day in the presence. During the pursuit, five health workers were arrested and detained at Amuru Police Post for three days and the charges placed upon them included neglect of duty and absenteeism from work place without permission at the expense of tax payers’ life.
Read the rest of this story and find out more at the Kubere Information Centre website, a WOUGNET project centre in Northern Uganda.