Doctors Maintain Strike, Ask Parliament to Push Govt to Fulfill its Pledges

UMA Vice President Prof. Pauline Byakika and colleagues before the Committee

Doctors under the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) have maintained they will carry on their strike that is now in second week after holding several engagements with government Ministers with no success.

The doctors who are expected to meet the President on Friday have appeared before the Parliamentary Committee of Government Assurance appealing to legislators to help push government to uphold the promises that were made to them.

The doctors led by the Association’s Vice President Prof. Pauline Byakika noted that their decision to put down their tools came as a last resort following several promises from government that have never been upheld.

Demands made by the medical doctors include; ensuring that health centres are well equipped and stocked with medicine as well as ensuring their pay rise.

Byakika said that they understand that government is unable to handle all the demands at once but insisted that some issues must be addressed before the strike is called off.

“All that we need is a commitment from government that our salaries shall be enhanced in a phased manner,” Prof. Byakika told the Committee on Thursday.

“Our request was for a supplementary budget to be issued so that these things are sorted out. Even if we went back to work, if we don’t have what to use, we are still going to be demotivated”.

She revealed to the Committee that she personally runs an infectious disease unit but lacks protective gear. She explained that the unit attends to over 50 patients but often times, the doctors end up catching TB infections.

“Our immediate demand is to have these supplies and equipment in the hospitals followed by sorting out the intern doctors, the SHOs, the Health Monitoring Unit and the duty facilitation allowance,” the UMA Vice President said.

Byakika noted that the group is, however, still open to meetings but want to discuss in line with bringing the impasse to an end.

The committee members promised to amplify the doctors’ plea, noting that they are with them in the struggle.

Following a fruitless meeting between medics and a team from government on Wednesday, government ordered the army and police personnel with medical training to start offering services at the National Referral Hospital in Mulago.

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