THE state minister for the elderly and people with disabilities, Sulaiman Madada, has announced that his ministry has earmarked sh405m to pay compensation to the families of the 11 health officials who died of ebola in 2007.
The deadly haemorrhagic fever broke out in Bundibugyo district in August 2007, killing 37 people of the 149 reported infections. The victims included health officials, namely, Dr. Jonah Kule, Joshua Kule, Assanasio Maate, Samuel Kule, Tabiita Peluce, Johnson Kiiza, Rose Bulimpikya, Ben Maate, Ezekiel Kisughu, Stephen Kaddu Ssesanga and Isaac Kiiza Bisunga.
When the deadly disease broke out in Bundibugyo, some health workers abandoned patients fearing that they would also contract the disease and perish.
A few, however, did not abandon their patients at their hour of need. And some health workers paid the ultimate price â€” with their lives.
Therefore, it is shameful, to say the least, that the Government, has for two years, not been able to pay compensation to the families of these health officials.
The New Vision recently published an article highlighting the agony Dr Kuleâ€™s family has gone through since he died. A tearful widow, Mellen Musoke, narrated the familyâ€™s ordeal. The family had to relocate to the village from the town to cut costs and at times went hungry. The families of the rest of the health officials probably have gone through similar agony.
The Government, as a matter of priority, must pay the compensation to the families of the health officials. But the Government should do much more, to recognise the sacrifice these individuals made for their community and the country.
This matter also highlights a bigger problem that the Government should address. It is obvious many people die while in public service and their families are not able, either due to the bureaucracy or sheer corruption, to access their entitlements such as death gratuity.
The Government ought to set up an institutional mechanism to handle such cases promptly.
Delayed compensation to families unfair