Princess Diana staff protest absence of face masks

Entry to the OPD at Princess Diana Memorial HC1V
Entry to the OPD at Princess Diana Memorial HC1V

Soroti, Uganda | URN | Staff at Princess Diana Memorial HCIV in Soroti Municipality have laid down tools over the lack of face masks for attending to patients. 

The staffs are concerned that while the COVID-19 pandemic is claiming lives in different parts of the world, Soroti Hospital isn’t providing enough protection to health workers to enable them to execute their duties.

This publication has learnt that the facility has been receiving only 20 pieces of masks every week against the total number of 34 staff on duty each day. 

Dr Alfred Anyonga, the in-charge at Princess Diana Memorial HC IV says that they have been getting  masks from other health service providers like TASO, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital and Isolation centres among others. 

He explained that much as they are struggling to access masks, the number of patients seeking treatment at the facility has increased from the usual 150 patients a day to not less than 200 patients, over the last month.

At the facility, our reporter found some mothers at the maternity ward unattended to. Joyce Asayo, an attendant to Doreen, the mother in labour says they arrived at the facility at 1 p.m on Tuesday but were not attended to by any health worker by close of Business. 

Asayo told our reporter that she had tried to reach a midwife on duty for help but she had not yet come to their rescue. The mother, who came from Omagoro village, Arapai Sub County said she would wait since she had nowhere else to go. 

Our reporter found some of the staff seated at the entrance to the Outpatients Department but doing nothing. They said that all the patients of the day had gone back after getting treatment. 

“At least today, we attended to some patients with masks delivered by the district yesterday. We received 100 pieces of masks yesterday when the bosses heard that we were not working. We cannot do much without the required protection in this coronavirus,” one of the female nurses said. 

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Moses Otimong, the Soroti Town Clerk, when contacted said the issues of masks had been presented to the district task force and Ministry of Health. 

Dr Anyonga said that the staff had grievances with deductions in the quarterly releases to the facility, that have affected operations. He revealed that much as other health facilities have received fourth-quarter funding, Princess Diana had not yet received any releases from the Municipality. But Otimong, in his response said the issue has been sorted.