Village elders and Community Health Volunteers (CHV) in Siaya County have called on the National Government and the international community behind the recent distribution of mosquito nets to intervene and have County Government officials release their allowances.
The elders and health volunteers who were conscripted into the exercise that concluded a fortnight ago, lamented that top county officials had slashed their allowances despite signing a written agreement that detailed the nature of work, the days and amount that they were to receive on completion.
Speaking to journalists, the elders and health volunteers drawn from different Sub- counties said they were surprised when the County Government officials said only a few of them will be paid after which they would share the amount with their colleagues.
In Ugenya Sub-county 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.
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, health officials led by Ugenya Sub-county MoH, a Mr. Victor 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 day exercise to cover for the cost of transport,
An elder, David Omanje Okoth of Kamhinda village in Komenya – Kowala Sub- location in Alego / Usonga Constituency said he had signed for a contract to participate in the week-long exercise but had been locked out of payment.
“No proper information was coming from the health officials” lamented the village elder adding that they were also facing the wrath of the members of the public who were registered but did not get the mosquito nets as the county government availed just a few.
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.
“I have worked for the days I was supposed to as per the agreement but was surprised when the MoH and a Mr. Owino from the health office in Ukwala came and told us that only two CHVs will be paid,” said a bitter Atieno.
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.
Siaya County Executive Committee (CEC) member for Health, Dismas Wakla, denied knowledge of grumbles over non-payment amongst village elders and Community Health Volunteers.
Wakla told the press at the County Headquarters that the mosquito nets distribution exercise was a National Government function, adding that the role of the County Government was simply to help with coordination.
The County Health Boss, however, told the elders and CHVs to make a formal complaint to his office so that they could make a follow up.
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 was to 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