Kabale’s Health Facilities Struggle: Examining the Link Between Housing and Worker Attendance
Increasing instances of health worker absenteeism and tardiness in Kabale District have been identified as stemming from insufficient staff housing at health centers. The Committee on Health discovered this during their oversight visit to various health facilities on November 8, 2023.
Kabale Ag District Health Officer, Barnabas Tiwangye, highlighted the accommodation challenges faced by health centers, with a majority of staff forced to find lodging outside the facilities. Tiwangye emphasized that less than 15% of staff have proper accommodation, leading to difficulties in reaching health centers and contributing to performance issues.
In Kabale, which houses a regional referral hospital and two general hospitals, there are four health center IVs. Three are fully operational, while Kakomo Health Centre IV lacks essential infrastructure, human resources, and necessary equipment.
To combat absenteeism, Hon. Margaret Ayebare, Mbarara District Woman Representative, suggested adopting measures from Rubanda, where regular attendance analysis and strict penalties ensure staff reliability. Ayebare also stressed the need for adequate funds for staff housing, recognizing housing shortages as a widespread issue across many districts.
Recognizing the challenging topography of Kigezi sub-region, the MPs proposed treating it as a hard-to-reach area, prioritizing it for staff housing initiatives. Additionally, the district faces stalled health projects constructed by the UPDF Engineering Brigade, prompting a committee meeting to address the issue of delayed or incomplete projects.
Hon. Nicholas Kamara, leader of the delegation, expressed concern over the quality and progress of projects, emphasizing the need to resolve these matters with the UPDF Engineering Brigade. In 2021, President Yoweri Museveni directed the Ministers of Health and Education to involve the army’s construction brigade in new projects for health facilities and schools to mitigate corruption and streamline procurement processes.