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COVID-19: Budaka, Tororo districts suspend annual leave for health workers

All health workers on leave have been instructed to report back to help reinforce the existing personnel in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The COVID-19 task forces in Budaka and Tororo have resolved to cancel and suspend leave requests, and recall all the health workers in the district over the increasing cases of COVID-19.

According to the district officials, all health workers on leave are supposed to report back to help reinforce the existing personnel in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past two weeks, Budaka district has registered 143 positive cases out of the 748 samples tested, 5 of whom are under Intensive Care Unit, while 4 deaths were also registered.

During the task force meeting on Wednesday, the Chief Administrative Officer, Elly Piwang said following the upsurge in the COVID-19 cases, the district has decided to cancel all leave requests of all health workers in the district.

He said that several health workers have come to his office with letters requesting to be granted annual leave next month something he has turned down.

Section 54 (a) of the Employment Act of 2006 states that an employee is entitled to annual leave as accumulated and has to be taken at a date and period agreed between the two parties, (employer and employee) during the calendar year.

He further alluded that the district is also thinking of bringing interns on board to help in the fight against the pandemic since the current work force seems not to be enough.

The District Health Officer, Victoria Namugwere said communities are hostile to the district staff carrying out the COVID-19 sensitization drives accusing them of spreading the virus.

Budaka has 15 health facilities across the district with 217 health workers, 13 of whom are currently under going treatment after contracting the virus.

In Tororo district, the authorities have also suspended the issuance of leave to all health workers in the district as a way of maintaining a progressive health system as the district struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s reported that several health workers have been tabling leave requests following the increase in COVID-19 infections within their fraternity.

Tororo district assistant CAO, Samali Sabano Epiat says no health worker will be granted work leave until the end of COVID-19 pandemic. “Those who are already on their leave are going to be recalled immediately due to the increased workload caused by the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sabano.

The RDC Nixon Owole also instructed the CAO to recall those who were granted study leave to report back to their work stations since all learning institutions have been closed. “I don’t see any reason why district health workers who were given study leave are not back in their work stations because the president closed learning intuitions,” he said.

Connie Bwire, the Tororo district acting Health officer revealed that the Tororo district new male ward has been gazetted to manage COVID-19 cases after the spike in the district and shortage of space in Mbale and Soroti regional referral hospitals.

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