By Nelson Gonjani–DOWA
Tempers have at least boiled down among health workers at Khuwi Health Centre in Ntchisi district who threatened to down tools after what they call ‘false accusations’ of their late reporting for duties and other behaviours bordering on negligence.
Both Ntchisi District Hospital Public Relations Officer Samson Mfuyeni and Ntchisi South lawmaker, Ulemu Chilapondwa confirmed in separate interviews that the workers had indeed vowed to strike over the issue.
The Radar understands some community members made the allegations during an interface meeting that Ntchisi Organization for Youth and Development-NOYD had with some stakeholders.
This is a European Union funded programme under the spotlight initiative. We further established that some community members alleged that some health workers report for work as late as 10am instead of the recommended 7:30am.
Chilapondwa says some of the raised concerns might not be entirely untrue. But he disagrees that the facility opens at around 10am. He still insists there are a few grey areas that the health centre together with community members should amicably address.
“I know the issue at hand. I once presented the concerns before the district council committee. Where possible, the health centre should correct areas that need improvement instead of being defensive. But we have intervened on the matter so that the workers should not down tools. We will handle the issue amicably,” said Chilapondwa.
Chilapondwa further alleged that previously it took three hours before health workers attending to a chief who had fallen sick and came looking for medical attention.
On the other hand, Mfuyeni claimed the NOYD interface meeting did not have a representative from the health centre who should have correctly responded to some of the issues raised.
“We have a very dedicated staff at Khuwi Health Centre. Sometimes, they even open the facility for operations before 7am. We were even shocked to learn of the accusations. That’s possibly the reason some health workers were angry and threatened to down tools,” explains Mfuyeni.
He adds after the interface meeting, they engaged traditional leaders in the area as well as management of the health centre for an amicable resolution on the accusations some community members had made.
Ironically, during the NOYD interface, Ntchisi District Hospital Chief Clinical Officer George Mtambo is quoted by Zodiak Online to have pledged to “take up the issue to the authorities, especially the Human Resources Office for action.”
Adds Mfuyeni: “It’s an issue that could have been handled right in that interface if an informed officer from the health centre was present.”
We have further gathered some community members demanded the transfer of some health workers; attributing their behaviours to overstaying at the facility.
However, some community members claim there is bad blood between Mbawala Ward Councillor, Frackson Sefasi and some health workers at the facility.
The Radar understands this emanates from a flopped water supply deal the Councillor wanted to initiate with the health centre.
When contacted, Sefasi described the claim as untrue.
“My relationship with the health workers is ok. I know of the water supply issue. It wasn’t even me. Some community members wanted to be using some water at the facility. If anything, it is some health workers that are not in good terms with community members, not me. People should not run away from the main issues,” claimed Sefasi.
Khuwi Health Center serves a population of over 30 thousand people