Kabale District Grapples with Health Staff Absences Due to Accommodation Shortages
On 9th November 2023, during a visit to health facilities in Kabale District, the Committee on Health discovered that a lack of staff housing is a major factor contributing to increased absenteeism and late arrivals among health workers. The shortage of accommodation, especially in health center IVs, has forced some staff to sleep in hospital wards. Kabale’s District Health Officer, Barnabas Tiwangye, revealed that less than 15% of staff have proper accommodation, affecting their punctuality and attendance.
Aside from the regional referral hospital and two general hospitals, Kabale has four health center IVs. Three are fully functional, but Kakomo Health Centre IV lacks essential infrastructure, human resources, and basic equipment. To tackle absenteeism, Mbarara District Woman Representative, Hon. Margaret Ayebare, suggested adopting the approach used in Rubanda, where regular attendance analysis is conducted, and strict measures are in place, including holding salaries for absenteeism.
Acknowledging the challenging topography of Kigezi sub-region, MPs proposed prioritizing it as a hard-to-reach area for staff housing. The district faces additional challenges with health projects initiated by the UPDF Engineering Brigade, with some stalled despite receiving funds. Hon. Nicholas Kamara, leader of the delegation, highlighted the need for a committee meeting with the UPDF Engineering Brigade to address these issues. In 2021, President Yoweri Museveni directed the army’s construction brigade to handle all new health facility and school construction projects, aiming to reduce corruption and procurement delays.