Ntoroko Health Centres Close Over Shortage Of Workers

3051 Views Ntoroko, Uganda

In short
Dr. Felix Mugenyi, the Ntoroko District Health Officer, says the health department is understaffed with 20% of the required staff, which has affected the functionality of the health centres in the district.

A shortage of workers has forced some health facilities in Ntoroko district to close.

Two months ago, the district advertised the positions of 15 midwives, 3 medical officers and 10 clinical officers, but they have not received any applicants, a situation that has caused shortage of workers in the health facilities, forcing some of the facilities to close down.

In some of the health facilities, there is only one nurse to attend to more than sixty patients every day.

Majority of the closed facilities are health centres II. They include Nombe, Itojo, Kanara and Kibuku.

Edward Isingoma, a resident of Nombe says the health centre closed two weeks ago forcing most patients to access treatment at Karugutu Health Centre III, which is fairly staffed. He also says that before the facility was closed, most patients were not receiving treatment in time due to the few medical personnel available.

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Margaret Baguma, a resident of Kibuku says for one month residents especially pregnant mothers have been accessing treatment at Rwebisengo health centre III, which is 15 kilometres.
Damalie Musokye, a nurse at Karugutu health centre III says that she is over whelmed by the high number of patients seeking treatment. Some of them end up being turned away.  

Dr. Felix Mugenyi, the Ntoroko District Health Officer, says the health department is understaffed with only 20% of the required staff available, which is against the national average of 65% of the heath staffing. He says this has greatly affected the functionality and operation of the health centres in the district as they continue to provide poor services.

He says that some seven nurses left the district for other jobs, citing lack of accommodation and often complained of fatigue and lack of rest. He also says some health workers claimed that it's impossible for them to work for longer hours because they have to travel long distances to get back to their homes.

Mugenyi says most health centres are being manned by the under-qualified health workers. He cited Itojo health centre II which is being managed by a nursing aid instead of an enrolled nurse.

He says the health department plans to provide incentives to health workers like increasing their allowances, top ups and improved working conditions, but they lack adequate funds.

According to a 2012 report by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Uganda is short of 50% of the required health workers in the public service. The report showed that the country needed more health workers to effectively handle the health sector.

Uganda's failure to achieve the fifth millennium development goal has often been blamed on the government's failure to address the health worker crisis in the country.

According to the Civil Society Coalition on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Uganda faces an emergency in terms of health worker shortages, mal-distribution, poor motivation and high rates of attrition.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.