MIRAMA HILLS, 24 March 2021 – Ugandan Health workers enforcing COVID-19 restrictions at Mirama Hills on the Rwanda-Uganda border are on strike for non-payment of six months of allowances.
The striking health workers are responsible for all the medical services at the border point, including screening staff, truck drivers and passengers for COVID-19.
With the downing of tools, no COVID-19 samples are being collected, the isolation of suspects has stopped, and the fumigation of buildings has been halted.
Truck drivers and passengers cannot be cleared to cross the border until they have been tested and cleared for COVID-19.
The strike, which started last Saturday afternoon, crippled traffic at the border on Monday with more than 200 trucks stranded at the border crossing.
“They first paid us well. Later, they cuyt the allowances and we kept calm,” one worker told The Daily Monitor newspaper adding: “But they are no longer paying us while we continue to risk our lives and keep away from our homes”.
The permanent secretary to the ministry of health in the capital, Kampala, Dr Diana Atwine, has expressed regret in the non-payment of the allowances, blaming it on the fiannce system and promising a quick fix.
The ministry has also ordered border districgts to deploy staff permanently to border posts instead of seconding a few staff there on allowances which are more expensive on the state budget.