State House unit finds 18 ghost health facilities in Manafwa

Dr Julian Nabatanzi, the deputy director of State House Health Monitoring Unit addresses the community at Bugobero Town Council headquarters in Manafwa District on September 20, 2023. Photo/ Yahudu Kitunzi

What you need to know:

  • The health monitoring unit found 75 workers are employed in the non-existent facilities.

The State House Health Monitoring Unit (HMU), during an investigation, found 18 ghost health centres in Manafwa District.
The probe was commissioned last month following reports of mismanagement in health services and increasing maternal deaths due to negligence by the health workers.
Dr Julian Nabatanzi, the deputy director State House Health Monitoring Unit, said district officials have attached about 75 extra health workers to the ghost health facilities.

 “We told the chief administrative officer (CAO) to delete the ghost health facilities and rectify the issue,”Dr Nabatanzi said.
According to the probe report, the district is supposed to have 92 health workers but they have 267, giving an excess of 75 health workers.
Dr Nabatanzi said  her team was yet to establish when the ghost facilities and workers were created and how much money the government lost in the process.

Health workers in Manafwa have been on the spot over extortion claims, absenteeism, negligence of duty, rudeness, drug theft and late coming.
For instance, police arrested and detained two medical officers of Bugobero Health Centre IV in Manafwa District two weeks ago as it commenced an investigation into the death of a pregnant mother and her baby at the facility.
Billa Nambisawa, the deceased, bled to death after failing to raise Shs200,000 the medical officers had reportedly asked for on the fateful day.

The health
 workers were arrested to help with investigations.
  Mr Peter Wasubile, who lost his wife while giving birth, asked the government to compensate him to enable him to take care of his young children.
“The health workers are corrupt. I lost my wife and baby because they wanted money before they could help my wife to give birth,” Mr Wasubile said.

Meanwhile, in July this year, State House Health Services Monitoring Unit arrested an enrolled nurse and ambulance driver, both attached to Bugobero Health Centre IV over absenteeism.
The nurse had reportedly absconded from duty for four months while the ambulance driver absconded duty for seven months without genuine reason.
The CAO of Manafwa, Mr James Luyimbazi, said there are anomalies, which they are trying to rectify.
“There are anomalies but health workers are there and we pay them,” Mr Luyimbazi said, without providing details about ghost facilities and workers.

However, the Manafwa District chairperson, Mr Hosea Kigai Kimono, said the district has eight genuine health facilities.
He said they have two health centre IVs including Bugobero and Bubulo and four Health Centre IIIs in Bukimanayi, Bukewa, Butiru, Lwanjusi and one health Centre II in Ikaali.

“I don’t know about the ghost health centres.  Let me wait for a detailed report from the State House Health Monitoring Unit but the excessive recruitment of health workers was done in the previous regime,” he said.
He said the State House probe findings also pinned the district executive committee members for reportedly receiving money from some health workers in exchange for jobs.

  Dr Nabatanzi during the community baraza at Bugobero Town Council headquarters on Wednesday, said they will continue monitoring operations of the facilities to curb maternal and pre-natal deaths in the district. She made the comment after locals raised complaints.
Mr Steven Bwayo, a resident of Butiru Town Council in Manafwa District, said health services in the district  are wanting.

“People are dying in health facilities due to negligence of health workers. We request the government to intervene,”Mr Bwayo said.
Ms Alice Kakai,  a resident of Bugobero, said:“My sister  was in labour and I took her to Bugobero health centre iv but a nurse told me to go back home and get money for her or else  I take my sister to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital. They did not even examine her because we did not have money.”