Injustice makes Polonnaruwa PHIs sick

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) of the Polonnaruwa District yesterday announced that they would go on a 24-hour sick note campaign today (22) if the North Central Provincial Council fails to cancel a transfer given to the Secretary of the Public Health Inspectors’ Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL), A. M. Senarath Bandara, without even a proper inquiry.

President of the Public Health Inspectors Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL), Upul Rohana alleged that the transfer had been given following a complaint made by Bandara against the Regional Epidemiologist (RE), of the Polonnaruwa District, for pilfering funds given to PHIs as transport allowance for dengue management work. A Rs. 500 allowance was given to PHIs as transport allowance last year. However, allegations were made that the funds were utilized for the RE’s personal work. An inquiry was held into the issue, but the RE had evaded the inquiry by applying for sick leave, he said.

"Now what has happened is that the RE who allegedly committed the fraud is being kept back, while the PHI who revealed it is being transferred to another District, an infuriated PHIUSL President said.

The said PHI was voted the best PHI in the Polonnaruwa District for two consecutive years, while he had also won the all island best PHI award in 2011.

Disgusted with what had happened and under such mental stress Bandara had tended his resignation from the government service but had retracted it once the Provincial Council authorities informed him of the benefits he would be foregoing if he resigned.

The PHIs’ President said however that their union branch in Polonnaruwa would see what the response to the sick note campaign was before collaborating with several other trade unions to launch a joint strike action against the injustice, he said.

Meanwhile doctors of the Polonnaruwa District took trade union action on Wednesday (20) demanding the immediate removal of the PHI from Polonnaruwa. The Branch union of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) accused the PHIUSL Secretary of being incompetent, failing to wear his uniform while on duty, dereliction of duty and fraudulently withdrawing his letter of resignation.  

The GMOA Media Spokesman, the Deputy Provincial Director Health Services Polonnaruwa District nor the RE could be contacted for comment.

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