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Busia health workers, VHTs protest over delayed payment of allowances

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Health workers and Village Health Teams-VHTs are protesting the delayed payment of their allowances for the just concluded oral cholera vaccination exercise in Busia municipality. The health workers and VHTs were entitled to Shillings 280,000 and Shillings 240,000 respectively for the five-day exercise that was meant to be paid on the last day.

However, both the health workers and VHTs say they don’t understand why the District Health Officer-DHO hasn’t paid them. At least 20 health workers and 24 VHTs were involved in the vaccination exercise that covered 24 villages in Western and Eastern divisions in Busia municipality.

On Wednesday afternoon, the affected VHTs and health workers stormed district headquarters with bed sheets saying they will not leave unless they receive their allowances for the exercise that was concluded on Wednesday last week.

Esther Ogoro and Elizabeth Ochero from Mawero health center II and Busia health center IV respectively are among those protesting none payment of their allowances. The two say they were asked to append signatures on payment forms and promised to receive their cash on Wednesday.

They however say that when they reached the DHO’s office, they were told that the money got lost.

Ochero says the DHO just ordered them out of his office.

Asuman Muteguya, the VHT from Marachi C village says that they are ready to sleep at the district offices until they receive their money.

Peter Nabunwa, the Western Division Health Inspector confirmed receiving complaints from health workers in his area over delayed payment.

Dr. Willis Syongola, the Busia District Health Officer asked journalists not to publicize the story in exchange for some money in vain prompting him to march out of office with threats of calling police to arrest them.

Joseph Balisanyuka, the Busia Chief Administrative Officer wasn’t in office to comment on the matter by the time of filling this story. The oral cholera vaccination exercise that commenced on October 24th and ended Oct 28th, 2020 targeted people aged one year and above in Busia municipality.

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