Workers’ Absenteeism Cripples Health Service Delivery in Lira

Absenteeism and late reporting to work by government health workers in Lira is being blamed for the poor service delivery in the district.

During a Health Service monitoring exercise conducted in December by the State House Health Monitoring unit, it was discovered that staff absenteeism from work places where some staff are away on study leave without proper approval while others have intentionally extended their leave are some of the issues affecting service delivery.

In most facilities like Ogur and Amach HC IV, it was discovered that staff report for duties late like at 11am because they reside in Lira City and this leaves them little time to attend to the patients.

Dr. Ataro Stephen Ayella, the Assistant Director at State Health Monitoring Unit explained that the monitoring followed numerous complaints about drug theft. However, other challenges like the absenteeism and late reporting to work were discovered to be the major cause of poor services. 

However, Dr. Patrick Buchan Ocen, the District Health Officer attributed the above challenges to inadequate staff accommodation and social problems among the staffs He says there are mechanisms in place to ensure that everyone reports to work on time although some people are still not complying.

“Absenteeism has been a common problem in Lira but we have had engagements with the leaders from the health facilities and I’m happy that the Health Unit Management Committee are now up and about like for Amach the chairperson is always there and the sub county chief also promised that she will make sure that always she takes charge.” 

He tasked the sub county leadership to interest themselves in the day to day operation of health facilities in their areas if service delivery is to improve.

Meanwhile RCM Okello Orik, the Lira District chairperson explains that many health staff have been absent from work due to lack of payment resulting from glitches on the Human Capital Management System which has greatly affected the operation of the districts.

Okello Orik assured the monitoring team that the challenge will be addressed “as soon as the system is sorted out”. He also implored the health workers especially those in HCIVs to remain at their work stations so as to serve the community well.

Since 2020, the Ministry of Health has been upgrading HCIIs and IIIs in the Northern region in a phased manner and stocking them up with medical supplies to ease work.

However, whether or not the community will be able to access the much desired services amidst the lingering challenges is a question that is yet to be answered.

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