Arua, Uganda | URN | Work grounded to a halt at the Church of Uganda owned Kuluvu Hospital in Arua district on Monday 11th, May when health workers and support staff laid down their tools protesting nonpayment of their wages and contributions to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
The more than 80 health workers comprising nurses, clinical officers and support staff fully dressed in the uniforms assembled in the hospital compound at 8:00am accusing management of failure to pay their emoluments for the last six months and NSSF for the last two years.
Some of the medical workers and support staff told this publication on condition of anonymity that they have written several letters to the hospital administration for the last three months to address their grievances in vain.
The protesting workers said they decided to lay down their tools because of the biting economic and health challenges resulting from the Covid19 lockdown, which has made their survival unbearable.
One of the leaders of the medical workers who declined to be named, said they would only accept to meet their administrators in the presence of the Resident District Commissioner and Bishop of Madi West Nile Diocese. He also said they are ready to maintain their strike until their demands are met fully.
Another medical worker only identified as Robert, said the hospital management had earlier on promised to sell off some vehicles and medical equipment to raise money to pay them but to date nothing has been done. Robert said their patience has run out after waiting for management to act in vain.
Dr. Ronald Debo, the Vice Chairperson Kuluva hospital management board told our reporter that it has practically become difficult to pay the 162 staff from the little user fees they get from the few patients as those from DRC who have been their biggest source of revenue have been stopped from coming because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Dr. Dennis Odongo, the administrator Kuluva hospital said their Health partner Enabel failed to pay them for three quarters leading to the huge debt burden.
By the time our reporter visited the hospital, the hospital border members were scheduled to hold an emergency meeting while over 20 interns were attending to patients. Kuluva Hospital was established in the 1950s by Anglican Missionaries and handed it over to Madi West Nile Diocese. The hospital receives support from government through Ministry of Health.