In Mayuge District, a financial concern has come to light as the local health department is unable to account for UGX 369 Million, which was provided by the Ministry of Health to support Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) and various health programs. This revelation has cast a shadow on a recent initiative by the Ministry of Health, where they handed over 168 bicycles and health kits to these extension workers.
The Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) program, initiated in January 2022 and executed in Mayuge and Lira Districts, aims to address health-related issues, improve hygiene and sanitation, and enhance health services in these regions. Under this program, each CHEW is entitled to a monthly salary of Shs150,000. However, there have been reports of delayed or partial payments, causing concerns among the workers.
Samali Kwewayo, a CHEW on Jagusi Island in Mayuge District, revealed that she has not received her salary for two months. Similarly, Siraje Ntambi, also operating on Jagusi Island, stated that he is owed five months of salary.
To address these financial issues, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine took action. On October 30, she directed acting Mayuge District Health Officer Dr. Asuman Basembeza, through Chief Administrative Officer Eria Magumba, to ensure that the unaccounted Shs389 million is explained and that the rightful recipients are paid.
Dr. Atwine expressed her disappointment in Dr. Basembeza’s handling of the funds, stating that he had failed to account for Shs120 million designated for various health programs and Shs269 million since the previous year. She warned that if no resolution is reached, she would escalate the matter to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) for further investigation.
In his defense, Dr. Basembeza acknowledged that some CHEWs had not received their salaries, citing challenges such as the need to complete paperwork to acquire a supply number as per financial guidelines, as well as some workers lacking national identity cards. Dr. Basembeza assured that payments would be harmonized for all CHEWs, including those owed eight months of arrears.
Mayuge Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Elijah Madoi proposed better oversight for government programs, suggesting the involvement of his office or the district chairperson’s office for more effective follow-up and accountability.