Health Minister tips Arua nurse for award

Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Acheng meeting Sr. Doris Okudinia who pushed a patient for three kilometers, in attempt to save life.

ARUA – The Minister of Health has tipped a nurse in Arua town to get an award for an extraordinary during the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Hon. Jane Ruth Acheng assures Sr. Doris Okudinia of Ediofe Health Centre III that she qualifies for an award.

“We are going to make sure, when time for awards come” the minister reveals over the weekend during a talkshow on a Catholic Radio station, Radio Pacis.

Sr. Doris Okudinia, on 3rd March 2020 pushed a patient on a wheelchair, for about 3 kilometers from Ediofe Health Centre III to Arua Regional Referral Hospital, in an attempt to save life.

Sr. Okudinia conceived the idea to take the extraordinary step after an Ambulance which was called to transfer the patient, an elderly man, had delayed.

An fortunately, the patient could not make it in life.

The Minister had to schedule apart of her trip moments in Arua town after the talkshow to meet Sr. Okudinia to offer ” a brown envelop” in personal appreciation, saying the national award will be done later, but she didn’t specify.

Encouraging the nurse, Hon. Dr. Achieng says Sr. Okudinia had lived to up to her oath as health worker.

“What you did, is extremely commendable. When you stood up as Health worker and lived up to what you swore, you promised to preserve life and selflessly you rolled a patient on a wheelchair all the way from Ediofe health centre III to Arua referral Hospital. Am told it’s three kilometers. Along distance. You did a commendable job, thank you very much” Dr. Acheng comments.

The minister, whose voice alone reveals her inner heartfelt for the nurse, says the act of Sr. Okudinia was the pride and portrays commitment of the entire health fraternity.

” You have made us proud as health fraternity, you has made us proud as health worker who is committed to save lives” the minister expresses.

Dr. Acheng calls on the public to equally appreciate the nurse for uplifting the morals of Health profession.

“I want to tell every body out there to celebrate you because of what you did. You lifted up health workforce. Thank you very much” the minister continues.

Despite the fact that some of the district leaders in Arua did not take Sr. Olusinia’s act kindly, the minister calls on them to join celebrating the nurse.

” I also want to tell the district leaders to celebrate and all the communities in West Nile region, for you have lifted up our heads” the overwhelming minister emphasises.

However, the minister also sounds a warning to those with negative perception towards the nurse’s action.

“So, I want to tell anybody who is against what you did, to forget being negative but to appreciate you. And if you have any question regarding what Doris did, don’t ask her, please call me and I will tell you what commendable job she did or call my team here. So, Doris, we are proud of you” the minister continues showering the nurse with endless praises.

Dr. Achieng encourages the nurse not to feel dejected but move in public with high spirit.

“When you walk out in the streets of Arua, walk with you head high” she says.

Much as Sr. Okudinia now feels the warmth and pompous of the minister of health with other government official, her act didn’t go well with some of Arua district leaders who accused the nurse of seeking cheap popularity through damaging government’s reputation.

Some of the leaders who opening exposed their ill feelings to Sr. Doris was Deputy Resident District Commissioner, who remark to the media that the nurse acted unprofessionally.

The District Health officer (DHO) accused Sr. Okudinia of wrongly taking a decision to transport the patient on wheelchair, claiming the Ambulance reached 30 minutes when the nurse had only left the health centre.

However, the DHO’s argument holds no water, even in the sight of a common peasant conversant with Arua’s geography, who knows that 30 minutes of pushing a wheelchair would only take one as far ad Ediofe trading centre and the driver couldn’t miss to see the nurse in uniform, pushing a patient.

A radio journalist, Mr. Nyakuni Alfred a.k.a Uncle Nyax, of ” In the mood” evening program on Radio Pacis, was another culprit crucified for taking Sr. Okudinia’s pictures, sharing it on social media. The photos became viral and hence the matter caused public concern.

Another purported victim in the line of advocating for the plight of Sr. Okudinia, who, Red Pepper prefers to keep anonymous for his security has since issued a statement below on his experience after the incidence.

“Dr. Ruth Acheng, the Health Minister featured on Radio Pacis. Among other things, she responded to the case of the nurse and thanked her from the bottom of her heart on meeting her after the show.

This commendation should, in my view, put this matter to rest following her earlier appreciation of Doris thru her twitter handle.

The case of Doris has been stressful to many people, esp me and Uncle Nyax who was accused of parading the photo. I was accused by some members of holding a meeting with Sr. Doris prior to her wheeling the patient to Arua Hospital with the intention to damaging the image of govt. I was further accused of fighting the deputy RDC of Arua. I only physically met Sr. Doris on Wednesday this week when I came to visit a sick relative at Ediofe Health center. By some luck, she came to the room. I could see a resemblance with the photos I saw on social media. Immediately I asked if she was Sr. Doris, to which she responded in the affirmative with her smile and happiness. I then confirmed what we have been told about her. She is a natural nurse. A nurse by birth. Very cheerful. She was shocked to know me for the first time when I introduced myself. She was in total disbelief. Why? Because those who tried to alter the story went to her and inquired about how I had met her and we jointly plotted to wheel the patient, a very absurd, ridiculous and preposterous allegation.

My dilemma is how do some people have the audacity to orchestrate such blatant and defamatory lies? What is the motivation. In this saga, I consistently argued that Sr. Doris committed no offense. She was accused by some of professional misconduct. I wrote a piece entitled ” Professional Misconduct: what the law says” in which I stated clearly that the offense of professional misconduct is a very grave matter and should not be made casually and recklessly because it has the potential to end the career of a professional. I quoted the Nurses and Midwives Act which provides for the mechanism thru which a nurse or midwife is disciplined as regards professional misconduct. I also stated that those accusing Sr. Doris of professional misconduct have a duty to refer the matter for handling by the Nurses and Midwives Council as provided in the Act.

I am happy that the Minister specifically said that those who have issues about Sr. Doris should raise the matter with her. This also presupposes that those who are blaming me or Nyax should equally raise the matter with the Minister.

This probably is the second time I am experiencing such problems in this pandemic. On the 3rd of April, in a regional meeting of security, the RPC reported that I was inciting people against the presidential directives. My only crime was that I contributed to the debate on torture and I quoted Art. 22 and 44(a) of the constitution, the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act and the UN Convention Against Torture which prohibits torture. In any case, I am not the author of these various laws and conventions. But there I was: standing accused of laws made by the Constituent Assembly, the Parliament and the UN” reads the statement.

As the minister sounds it clearly that questions patterning Sr. Doris’ action should be directed to her and her office, the same channel could also handle questions on actions of likes of uncle Nyax and others, in defence of the rights of the nurse.

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