Fort Portal, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital authorities are set to review the duty roster with a view of reducing the number of staff day-offs. It stems from the just concluded nationwide supervision exercise and on-spot check by the Ministry of Health where it was found that “many health facilities have developed duty rosters allowing health workers to work an average of 12 to 14 days a month.
On October 19th, 2020, the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine wrote to all directors of national and regional referral hospitals, saying this level of attendance to duty is unsatisfactory and is tantamount to cheating the government. “Therefore, the responsible officers must review the current duty rosters and correct this irregularity as a matter of urgency” reads Atwine’s letter.
Atwine also revealed that the levels of absenteeism and late coming were high and urged the hospital directors to equally find a lasting solution within two weeks of receiving her letter. Dr. Alex Adaku, the Director of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital, says that even though the workers are entitled to day-offs; they will need to review them the duty rosters such that those who have been getting more days off can have less for purposes of improving service delivery.
Adaku explains that because a regional referral hospital never closes, some staff who work at night for a consecutive number of days automatically deserve days off work to fight off fatigue and exhaustion. He says that since they take long without reviewing the work schedules of different departments, some staff could be taking advantage of the loophole to abscond from work.
On late coming, Dr. Adaku explains that even though they have a clocking in system to track when different workers report or leave work, the technology is inefficient for proper service delivery since it doesn’t follow the staff to their duty stations.
He says that to ensure the staff report to work and perform their duties; they will also carry out frequent supervision in different departments on top of reviewing the data from the clocking in system so that those who will be found off guard face disciplinary action.
For a long time, members of the public have been criticizing the management of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital over poor service delivery. On October 18, 2020, Ministry of Health also released the Maternal and Perinatal mortality situation report, which revealed that the country is registering many avoidable maternal and mortality deaths largely due to the sloppiness of the staff.
The report also established that many of the senior medical workers in referral hospitals were not delivering on their responsibilities due to absenteeism despite having the competence. It was found that Fort Portal Regional hospital registers 23 maternal deaths monthly.
In 2018, Kabarole district authorities wrote to Ministry of Health demanding the transfer of the then Director, Dr. Florence Tugumisirize accusing her of maladministration and blocking them from accessing the health facility after receiving information that 45 maternal deaths had been registered in a space of six months.