Tuesday , June 28 2022
Home / NEWS / Opposition tasks gov’t on continued doctors strike

Opposition tasks gov’t on continued doctors strike

LOP Mathias Mpuuga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Opposition in Parliament has asked the government to treat the ongoing strike by doctors as a matter of urgency.

Batuwa Timothy Lusala, the Shadow Minister for Health raised the issue during the afternoon plenary sitting.

In his statement, the Jinja South Division West MP noted that the doctors have spent three weeks on strike and the government has not done much to address their complaints.

“Among the things they asked are the allowances which were passed in the most recent supplementary budget. However, they have minimum demands which when fulfilled they will get back to work,” said Batuwa in part.

He said that it is important that the doctors get back to work considering that the country is now faced with a new Covid variant, whose extent of damage has not yet been ascertained.

The doctors under the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) recently asked parliament to address the deploring state of the health sector in the country. They said that Parliament and government ministries are to blame for the continued strike which has left many Ugandans stranded without medical care.

The strike began on November 22, after the government failed to fulfill many of its promises to medics, as made in 2017 during a similar strike. The doctors want the government to increase their salaries to 5 million Shillings, increase medical human resources and compensate health workers who succumbed to COVID-19.

Since the start of the strike, the doctors have met officials from several government ministries, Members of Parliament, and President Yoweri Museveni who issued a series of directives in response to the demands.

The President asked the Ministries of Health, Finance, and the Office of the Prime Minister to compensate all doctors who succumbed to COVID-19, recruit more doctors to address the 60 percent employment gap in the health sector, ensure that there is a 10 percent reduction in taxes paid by health workers, enforce salary increments of doctors and procure vehicles for consultant physicians.

The President also directed that the funds given to the National Medical Stores (NMS) be increased so that enough drugs and sundries are procured for the country. The government was also directed to release the four billion Shillings for the doctors SACCO, in addition to tax exemptions on cars for medical doctors.

David Bahati, the Minister of State for Industry told parliament that the doctors met with the President regarding their issues and that a committee was put in place chaired by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja who also wrote a commitment to ensure that the issues are handled.

Bahati informed MPs that another meeting was held on Monday to discuss the issues that need immediate action and that the Premier is handling the matter.

However, the Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga said that the response by Bahati on behalf of the government is as though the matter had become private between the Prime Minister and the doctors.

“The issues raised are in the public domain. Some of them are budgetary in nature and parliament is the last on the budget,” said Mpuuga.

He asked that the Minister to clarify more and bring to speed parliament, the outstanding issues that government thinks cannot be handled by leaders to make sure that health workers go back to work and secure the country.

The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among directed the Government Chief Whip to make sure that the doctors are paid the money that parliament appropriated in the supplementary budget and also report back to parliament the different measures being put in place by the government.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *