Doctors to strike over low pay

Doctors to strike

courtesy photo

Doctors under the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) will go on striker on November 22. The strike was initially meant to take place on November 6th, but the new management of the Uganda Medical Association says it was postponed for better planning purposes.

The doctors in August this year issued a notice to the government informing them that they would go on strike on November 6 if their demands were not met.

The doctors want the government to fill more than 40 percent of the vacant posts in public health facilities, increase the pay of intern doctors to 2.1 million as directed by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, compensate the families of health workers who succumbed to COVID-19, and provide medical supplies like oxygen in health facilities. The doctors also want the government to include medical interns and senior house officers on the public service salary structure.

According to the Public Relations Officer of UMA, Dr. Andrew Twineamatsiko, the new industrial action dates was agree upon by the new management.

” We held a meeting to discuss the strategies and road map for the much-needed industrial action whose goal is to better the health system of Uganda. We agreed that at exactly 00:01 hours of November 22, the strike would start,” he said.

Dr. Herbert Luswata, the secretary-general of UMA says the strike was delayed due to managerial issues. He says they had to push it forward because an official handover had not taken place between the old and new leadership.

The doctors issued government notice of industrial action in August and since the members of the old leadership executive have met with officials from the ministry of health, finance, and even the prime minister’s office but no decisions were made.

The old leadership of the association led by Dr. Richard Idro had expected the government to present a statement addressing their demands two weeks ago during the Grande Doctors Conference but none of the invited top management officials at the ministry of health like the permanent secretary Dr. Diana Atwine attended the conference.

During an interview with Uganda Radio Network (URN), the health ministry senior public relations officer, Emmanuel Ainebyoona urged the doctors to be patient since a supplementary budget was before parliament to address their needs.

With just three days left to the start of the industrial action, it remains to be seen whether the government will respond to their demands and avoid the effects such a strike might have on the country’s health system in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing medical interns strike.

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