Government has asked the military, police and prisons medics to step in and offer medical services ten days after doctors laid down their tools demanding for salary increment and better working conditions.
The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers, police and prisons personel who have training in medicine will step in to fill the gap at the Mulago national referral hospital and its other facilities like Kiruddu as doctors insist they will only offer emergency services.
The directive was made by President Yoweri Museveni at the request of reinforcement from the Ministry of Health.
UPDF Spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire confirmed the development to this website on Wednesday evening.
“Our doctors remain available to provide needed emergency services in conformity with the UPDF functions as laid out under Article 209 (b) of the Constitution,” Brig Karemire said.
He added that; “The UPDF is facilitating the military doctors to provide this critical service to our wanainchi [civilians]”.
This decision to have the army salvage the fragile situation follows a deadlock between the government and the doctors during a meeting held on Wednesday. The two sides failed to reach a compromise, with the government threatening to adopt another plan while doctors maintained they would not yield to the threats.
SoftPower News understands that doctors on strike at Mulago have been asked to vacate the premises and allow government to bring in people that are willing to work.
At the meeting, government was represented by the Health Minister Dr. Ruth Aceng, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, State Minister for Finance David Bahati and State Minister for Higher Education among others.
The government team pleaded with the medics for more time to allow the process to review salaries for public servants.
Earlier, Attorney General William Byaruhanga had revealed that if doctors refused to return to work, government would go for another option. Health Minister too had alluded to a ‘Plan B’ but none disclosed what the other plan was. It is not clear whether the military alternative is what the government was referring to.
“Intimidation must stop. If you have a Plan B, we have up to Plan C,” Dr. Ekwaro Obuku, the President of the Uganda Medical Association had reacted.
In the meantime, doctors have given assurance thay they will continue to attend to emergency services as they have been since last week Monday when the strike started.