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Ugenya Elders up in arms over poor payments

Elders in Ugenya are up in arms over payments

Village elders and Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in West Ugenya location have petitioned the government to investigate a syndicate of senior health officials out to fleece them of their allowances.

The over 30 elders and CHVs from four sub locations who met at Sifuyo Health Centre, lamented that senior health officials from Ugenya Sub-county had locked them from payment of allowances for participating in the just concluded mosquito nets distribution exercise despite signing a written agreement.

Speaking to the media after an aborted meeting with the health officials, the elders, led by Elias Okello Otieno and Benta Adhiambo Owino lamented that despite all of them, together with the CHVs having signed agreement detailing how much they will be paid, Ugenya Sub-county Ministry of Health (MOH) officials changed tune at the last minute, and informed them that only one village elder and two CHVs will be paid.

Mrs Owino said that under the signed agreement, they were to be paid a total of Sh 8,000 for the 10 days exercise to cover for the cost of transport, lunch and airtime.

Community Health Volunteers Mary Atieno and Joseph Omondi called for investigations on the activities of those tasked with handling the funds, adding that it was ridiculous for one to sign a contract only for the Ministry of Health to verbally alter it.

Atieno, who is the CHV for Bonde “A” and Siginga villages in Sifuyo East Sub- location, said this was not the first time that senior health officials were taking advantage of the CHVs when it comes to payment for work done.

His counterpart from Sifuyo West, Joseph Omondi, said the agreement they signed prior to engagement clearly spelt out their work and the amount they will be paid, and wondered how they will share the little amount that two CHVs will be paid.

The same question was raised by the village elders, with the Sifuyo East senior village elder, Elias Okello, saying that the move will demoralize his colleagues.

He said that they were ready to push for the full payment of their dues, and urged both the National and County governments to delve into the matter and discipline anyone behind the scheme to swindle them.

The mosquito-net distribution exercise was launched early this week as part of the government’s efforts to kick malaria out of the malaria endemic counties.

Speaking during the launch of the distribution exercise in Siaya, the National Malaria Programme’s Manager-In-Charge of Care and Treatment, Dr. Omar Ahmeddin, said that Siaya County will receive over 400,000 mosquito-nets for distribution to the locals.

Dr. Omar said that the exercise was funded by international donors, among them, the Global Fund and the United States of America’s President’s Malaria Initiative which he hailed for the assistance.

By Philip Onyango

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