By Christopher Nyeko
Gulu: Dr. Cana Kenneth, the acting Gulu district health officer, has issued a strong warning to health workers in Gulu district who are reportedly planting crops in the compound of health facilities in the district.
His warning follows the rampant turning of the health facility compound into a garden by a section of health workers at various health centers in Gulu district.
According to his knowledge, a number of health in-charges at various health facilities, together with their staff, are using the hospital compound to grow crops such as maize, potatoes, and cassava instead of maintaining the compound as stipulated in the health policies.
Okoya Owen Chris, the LCIII chairperson of Owalo subcounty, where Lugore Health Centre II is, says the Lugore Health Centre II compound is currently covered with cassava and maize crops planted by the health workers, which he says is deterring some patients from accessing the hospital.
Okoya added that he has been pleading with the health workers at Lugore to stop the vice, but they have paid him a deaf ear.
Meanwhile, at Coo-pe Health Center II in Bungatira Sub County, the health center compound, which was seen by the reporter, is crowded with heaps of potatoes planted by the health workers at the facilities.
Akello Sophie, the person in charge at the facility, says they are receiving insufficient funding under primary health care; the money, she says, cannot facilitate maintenance of the large compounds.
Dr. Cana, when interviewed, told this publication that the health department is going to take action on charges who are continuously abusing the hospital compound for their individual’s gains.
He noted that some of the crops being planted at the health facilities are serving as breeding grounds for malaria-spreading mosquitoes.
Dr. Cana advises that the health center, which has large land space, can plant short-growing crops such as green, onion, and groundnut; however, he preferably advises that they should slash the compound to keep it neat instead of turning it for agriculture.
Gulu district has 19 health facilities.
It has been common practice for civil servants to venture into growing crops or open other side businesses to supplement their meager monthly wages.
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