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Kabale, Rubanda Health Workers Decry Harassment By Security Agencies.

Written by on June 30, 2021

Health workers in Kabale and Rubanda districts are accusing security personnel of harassment.     The workers say that security personnel enforcing the Covid-19 guidelines detain them and impound their motor vehicles and motorcycles despite being essential workers and having proper identifications.

Lydia Kyomugisha, a senior nursing officer at Muko Health Centre IV in Rubanda West County, Rubanda district says that she is tired of being lashed by the police and Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF soldiers while she is heading to and from work.

According to Kyomugisha, since there are inadequate staff houses at the facility, most health workers live ten kilometres away from the facility.

Gilbert Mateeka, the Rugarama Hospital Medical Superintendent says that he was last week intercepted by security personnel in Kabale town while on his way to attend to a Covid-19 patient who is under Home Care Management. Mateeka says that despite presenting his work identity card and explaining where he was heading to, the security personnel kept a deaf ear arrested him and impounded his vehicle.

Dr Sophie Namasoppo, the Director of Kabale Regional Referral Hospital says that last week, the hospital generator developed a mechanical problem but the engineer who stays about 20, kilometres away in Maziba sub-county, refused to go to the facility repair it for fear of being beaten by security personnel.   Alfred Besigensi, Kabale District Health Officer says that his office has received complaints of health workers being beaten by security officers who are enforcing Covid-19 guidelines.

Darius Nandinda, Kabale Resident District Commissioner and Kennedy Ssebagala, acting Kabale District Police Commander defended the actions of the security personnel. They argue that some health workers don’t move with work identifications for easy recognition. They also claim that some health workers give their vehicles to family members who misuse the travel permits.  Elly Maate, Police spokesperson for the Kigezi region says that the complaints will be investigated.   He however advises health workers to move with their work identity cards for easy identification.

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