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Gov’t cautions health workers on frequent strikes

Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has asked all health workers to be more patient and sympathetic to health needs before they strike.

The call was made on Thursday in Kampala during a meeting attended by the Minister of health and her counterpart from Public Service.

According to the ministers, health workers have resorted to strike on even issues that can be solved, leaving patients stranded.

The call comes following a five-week industrial action by doctors last year under the Uganda Medical Association over the failure of the government to increase their salaries. The doctors also wanted the government to provide enough personal protective equipment for health workers.

Describing health workers industrial action as a new phenomenon that has taken over the sector, Muruli Mukasa, the Minister of Public Service asked doctors to have sympathy before going on strike.

He said that some of the issues that lead to these strikes can be settled while doctors continue working.

He however added that the government is committed to increasing the pay of all health workers.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng described the strikes as a decline in the attitude of health workers. She asked Muruli to address the issues raised by doctors.

Last year’s strike however sparked off other health cadres to also lay their tools down. Some of those who also went on strike included pharmacists, lab technicians, and also nurses.

Dr. Herbet Luswata, the General Secretary of UMA says that strikes act as a wake-up call to the government. According to Luswata, if the government fulfilled all its promises to health workers, there would be no strikes in the health sector.

“Strikes are a wake-up call to the government because it helps them address the promises it makes to us. We strike because if we did not, they would address any of our issues,” Luswata said.



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