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Nine health staff dismissed from Gulu hospital COVID-19 treatment unit

Gulu Hospital Covid-19 health team. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Nine health workers attached to the Coronavirus Treatment Unit- CTU at Gulu Regional Referral hospital have been dismissed without receiving their risk allowances. “As per the the decision of top management, the following service providers are supposed to exit from the CTU and report to the respective units by November 2nd,” A copy of an internal memo issued by management reads in part.

The affected health workers are George Okumu, an enrolled nurse who has been redeployed to the Emergency Unit, Patrick Odong, nursing officer moved to the Medical Ward, Peace Nsimenta, nursing officer moved to the Gynecology Ward and Stella Agutia, nursing officer sent to the Acute Care Unit.

Others are Margaret Acayo, a nursing assistant redeployed to the Pediatric Ward, Doreen Adokorach, a kitchen assistant transferred to Special Clinics/Records and her counterpart Anna Amucu moved to the Nutrition Department.

Martin Janan Okello, a pharmacy attendant was moved to the in Patient Pharmacy while Christine Abalo, a mental health attendant was redeployed to the Out Patient Department (OPD). A source privy to the abrupt redeployment told URN on condition of anonymity that the affected health workers simply paid the price for protesting against the delayed payment of allowances for five months.

Dr. Paska Apiyo, a physician in-charge of the unit has confirmed the development. She however expressed dismay at the decision saying it came at a wrong time when the hospital is handling patients in critical condition. According to Dr. Apiyo, the decision has already affected health care delivery following the reduction in the number of personnel in the unit that was already understaffed. But Maj. Santo Okot Lapolo, the Gulu Resident District Commissioner (RDC) who also doubles the Head of COVID-19 Task says the personnel in the unit were reduced following the implementation of the home based care strategy for asymptomatic COVID-9 patients as recommended by the Health Ministry.

Lapolo revealed that he has already met the hospital administration and team leaders at the CTU to clear the pending arrears to avoid further grievances and friction in the work place.

Gulu has recorded at least 10 COVID-19 deaths since September. All the cases were referred from St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor or Gulu Regional Referral Hospital to Mulago Hospital in Kampala. Gulu recorded its first death last week. So far the facility has cumulatively treated over 1,200 patients since April, 2020. Over 350 were community transmissions.

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