The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Wakiso District, Mr. Alfred Malinga, has taken action against two heads of health facilities in the district due to their frequent absenteeism.
The officials in charge of Wakiso Health Centre IV and Namayumba Health Centre were suspended from their duties on September 7.
Mr. Malinga’s decision was based on a report from the Ministry of Health, which blamed Wakiso District for delivering subpar services and making unnecessary referrals to hospitals in Kampala City.
“In the previous fiscal year (2022/2023), Kawempe National Referral Hospital received 14,243 maternal referrals and 3,418 perinatal referrals. A total of 3,766 maternal referrals, accounting for 26 percent, and 687 perinatal referrals, making up 20 percent, were from Wakiso District,” he disclosed.
The CAO also pointed out that during the same period, 123 maternal deaths were recorded at Kawempe Hospital, with 43 of them (35 percent) originating from Wakiso.
Last month, Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, instructed Mr. Malinga to convene an urgent meeting with all health facility heads to address the declining health service delivery in the district, partly attributed to senior medics’ absenteeism.
After reviewing daily attendance records at various health facilities, Mr. Malinga discovered that one of the facility heads had only been present at work for 13 days in the past three months, while the other, also facing suspension, had not reported for duty since the beginning of September.
“We found that one of the officials had someone else signing the attendance book for them. On average, in recent months, they attended work for only six or seven days a month,” Mr. Malinga explained.
He added, “Before the end of this week, I am going to appoint new individuals to replace them temporarily.”
Both senior medical officers will receive half of their monthly salaries during their suspension period. Mr. Malinga also formed a five-member committee to investigate the poor service delivery, particularly regarding attendance.
The investigative team, led by Mr. Alfred Byamukama, the Deputy CAO, includes Dr. Mathias Lugoloobi, the Acting District Health Officer (member), one of the Principal Education Officers, and the District Senior Human Resource Officer. The team is expected to submit a report within two weeks.
“I have instructed the district internal auditor to conduct a thorough audit of the two health facilities. I want to see how they have been using taxpayers’ money when they are not present,” Mr. Malinga emphasized.
Wakiso District oversees 1,520 health units, including 70 government-owned facilities and 38 nonprofit agencies. Additionally, there are licensed private pharmacies, drug shops, clinics, or maternity homes.
A 2016 survey by the State House Health Monitoring Unit revealed that the district’s healthcare system is dysfunctional and in disrepair. This report came shortly after President Museveni suspended 11 health workers at Nakawuka Health Centre III due to complaints from residents about their inadequate performance.