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Allowances: 300 COVID frontline workers lay down tools in Bukwo

A lab technician takes samples. Village Health Teams have been key in vaccination and tests.

Bukwo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Three hundred Village Health Team-VHTs members in Bukwo district have laid down their tools over non payment of their allowances for different activities.

Betty Chelimo, one of the VHTs, says that they are demanding a lot of money from the district.

According to Chelimo, they have been at the forefront of sensitizing residents since COVID-19 broke out in the country. She says that they have been involved in various vaccination campaigns but they have not received a single penny.

“We have suffered from work without any pay. Whenever we try to ask for the payment, the district officials dodge us, “she said. Joseph Kiplingat, another VHT, said that they have been demanding their allowance since last year in vain.

He says that this left them without any option but to lay down their tools. “We have families and children who need money for tuition. That little money would help us to support our children in school, “he said

Samuel Hasaka Mpimbaza, the Bukwo Resident District Commissioner, says that the decision by the VHTs to lay down their tools is bad news in the fight against COVID-19. He says that his office has learnt that the VHTs demand a lot of money for the work they did.

“What I have come to know is that the VHTs are demanding about Shillings 11 million for the 1st round vaccination, Shillings 85 million for the 1st phase of the accelerated mass vaccination campaign, Shillings 46 million for the integrated child health days, Shillings 193 million for the polio campaign and Shillings 60 million for the 2nd phase of the accelerated mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign,” he said.

He explains that the money accumulated because of the laxity of the office of the chief administrative officer to pay the VHTs. Julius Chelimo, the Bukwo LC V Chairperson, says that the VHTs have been playing a key role in handling some health cases in the villages.

“I really don’t know why the district delayed or refused to pay the  VHTS all that time, “he said. But Charles Ogwang, the Bukwo Chief Administrative Officer, says they have not received money for paying the VHTs and asks them to patient.

“We don’t have money on our accounts to pay the VHTs. I request the VHTS to be patient and wait for the money because am following it up from the Ministry of Health, “he said.

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