A section of Kitgum COVID-19 taskforce committee members are not pleased with what they describe as an unfair allocation of 165 million Shillings meant to pay allowances and welfare arrears for COVID-19 activities in the district.
This follows a report presented by the District Chief Finance officer Alexander Otim highlighting A breakdown on how they have appropriated the money in accordance with the finance Ministry directives.
According to the report, 103.3 million Shillings was allocated for Village health teams, drivers, village councils, subcommittee and central organizing committee meetings, health workers and 49 million Shillings for fuel. A total of 12 million shillings from the report remained as balance for any arising emergency needs.
But sub-county and division leaders, case management surveillance and publicity committee members raised concerns that their allocation was meagre despite playing a key role in the COVID-19 fight.
For instance, 12.4 million shillings was allocated for the 12 sub-counties while 16 health workers in isolation units at Kitgum General Hospital, St Joseph hospital and Namokora Health Center IV were apportioned 4.4 million Shillings at the rate of 20,000 Shillings for 14-days.
Dr Pamela Atim Okot, the Executive Director of St Joseph’s Hospital Kitgum says there is a need to consider the risks health workers are enduring at the moment and determine an appropriate allowance. She notes that allocating 20,000 Shillings for a health worker in high-risk situations may not be right citing that they may deserve probably 80,000 Shillings.
Dr Atim also cautioned the finance department that as they appropriate the fund for relevant activities, they should keep in mind that the risks are still high since the disbursed fund will have to cater for now and June.
Dr Geoffrey Okello, the acting Medical Superintendent Kitgum General Hospital who is also heading the case management committee says he had failed to understand the fund allocation breakdown.
Charles Onono, the Assistant District Health Officer who is also heading the surveillance committee says their allocation is meagre considering the bulk work, his team are conducting on the ground in terms of surveillance. He says most of his team members head to the field on foot and are always on standby to respond to surveillance calls, adding that they deserve decent allowances and arrears for their activities.
Geoffrey Toolit, the Central Division Chairperson told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the appropriation to the sub-county level was unfair and called for a review of the fund allocation to ensure that those helping in the fight against the COVID-19 spread are not demoralized.
But the Chief Finance Officer Alexander Otim says the fund disbursed by the government is way below what the district had budgeted to fight the spread of COVID-19. The district had initially budgeted for 1.4 billion Shillings.
The taskforce members, however, agreed to slash the allowances for both subcommittee and central organizing committee meetings from 10 days to only five days at the rate of 10,000 Shillings to save 12 million Shillings.
Kitgum District Local Government hasn’t yet utilized the 165 million Shillings disbursed by government to support the task force committee in fighting the spread of corona virus disease- COVID-19 last month.