Mwanza  Hospital staff protest against management

Members of staff at Mwanza District Hospital took to the streets last Friday to present a petition to District Commissioner (DC) demanding Council’s intervention on issues bordering on maladministration by some senior officers at the facility, a development they claimed was affecting service delivery.

Some DHO officers holding protests

A copy of the petition contains some key issues which all the hospital cadres wish to be addressed include immediate removal of three senior officers such as District Environmental Health Officer (DEHO), Acting Accountant and Transport Officer whom they accuse of compromising services at the facility.

The Petitioners are demanding payment of outstanding allowance arrears, money used for running hospital services (ORT) and supply of drapes (cloths used to cover patients during a surgical operation) in the theatre.

In an interview with Mana after presenting the petition, representative of the group asked not to be identified, said things at the hospital were upside down claiming that the three senior officers in question were responsible for current situation.

“We don’t have any problem with our District Health Officer (DHO), Dr Ireen Zuze but it has been observed that she is misguided by the three senior staff at the hospital,” the source claimed.

“We demand immediate transfers of the DEHO, Blessings Chitsime, Acting Accountant, Monica Mbengo and a transport officer, a Mr. Kasambara in order to bring sanity at the hospital,” the group’s representative added.

The disgruntled petitioners claimed that the DEHO usurps administrative powers of the DHO, a development which makes it difficult for her to discharge her duties independently.

She said there were outstanding arrears for the staff over six and 10 months in form of LOCUM and care for carers (people who declared their HIV status at work place), raising suspicion that their money was being mismanaged by a few individuals.

“What is most surprising is that when we go to the accounts office to enquire about our arrears, we only end up being shouted at by the acting accountant instead of listening to our grievances and explain causes for the delays in payment,” the representative pointed out.

She charged that vehicles at the facility were being mismanaged by the transport officer, accusing him of using the vehicles for his personal gains.

“If the above issues are not resolved it will lead to clinicians and nurses stopping working,” reads the last paragraph of the petition presented to the DC.

However, Zuze could not be reached for her comment on the matter at the time of compiling this report.

But the DC Humphrey Gondwe expressed surprise with the demonstrations by the hospital staff, particularly concerning allowance arrears, saying payments have always been approved by his office for such purposes.

He attributed the development to lack of coordination between hospital accounts and administration offices.

“I am surprised with the demonstrations because I have been signing cheques meant to be payment of allowances almost every month.

“So, to see the staff conducting demonstrations because hospital management owes them arrears for so many months is strange and embarrassing to the Council.” Gondwe said

He has since asked for a consolidated audit report from the accounts section at the hospital to establish how the money was spent to be submitted to the Council by next week.

“On the removal of the three members of staff from the facility, that is something to be handled carefully because we need first to find out the truth about the matter as there might be other underlying factors other than those mentioned in the letter,” the DC added.

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