Human rights activists have taken over the matter of the Arua nurse and journalist who were summoned last weekend over accusations of “embarrassing the district” after the nurse who transferred a patient from Ediofe Health Centre to Arua Regional Referral Hospital.
The nurse, Doris Okundinia out of desperation, put her patient in a wheelchair that she pushed from her duty station and Ediofe Mission Dispensary near Arua town to the referral hospital after the medical team had agreed to refer the patient for specialized medical care. There was however no ambulance to promptly respond to the call from Ediofe.
The two health facilities are separated by a distance of about 2Kms.
Human Rights lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo through his civil society organization; Chapter Four, has written to the Arua Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Nahori Oya Awa, and his deputy, Alice Akello Opio threatening legal action should they continue to harass the nurse and Alfred Nyakuni, a presenter at the Arua based Radio Pacis who photographed the nurse and her patient and later posted the photos on social media.
“We take exception to the conduct of the deputy RDC threatening and harassing our clients. We implore you to stop forthwith failure of which we shall take legal actions against any persons who are responsible for their violations in their individual capacity,” Opiyo wrote.
On April 9, 2020, Doris Okundinia, an enrolled nurse at Ediofe Health Centre III, wheeled a patient in a wheelchair after more than two hours of a futile wait for an ambulance they had requested for from the district COVID-19 taskforce.
The district COVID-19 taskforce under Nahori’s chairmanship, summoned Okundinia over accusations of professional misconduct while the journalist is wanted over accusations of embarrassing the district.
In his letter, Opiyo informed the district bosses that the nurse and the journalist will not honour what he described as informal summonses until the RDCs spell out the particular laws the two breached.
“We seek better particulars of the accusations and provisions of the law that you or any other person is accusing our clients of violations to enable us to advise our clients appropriately. Our clients won’t be able to honour your summons unless the above is provided,” Opiyo wrote.
Okundinia was recognized by Parliament on April 14, 2020, with the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, proposing that she gets awarded for excellent service to the country.
Kadaga said that instead of being intimidated by the Arua RDCs, the nurse should be recommended for the Labour Day award, and urged the Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo to prevail over the Arua RDCs.