Tuesday November 21 2017

Doctors demand written government commitment to end strike

Patients in government hospitals have been

Patients in government hospitals have been abandoned by the striking doctors. File photo  

By EMMANUEL AINEBYOONA

The rift between striking medical doctors and government on their salary and working conditions might soon end if government commits itself through a written agreement.

Daily Monitor understands that after two Cabinet meetings with members of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), doctors and government had agreed on some demands as a condition to end the current industrial action. 

“We await government response/ commitment in writing upon which we will provide for our next steps,” Dr Fauz Kavuma, the UMA spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.

The UMA National Executive Committee met Cabinet two times on November 19 and November 20 upon which they arrived on some agreements, he said.

Dr Kavuma said they had discussed with government all the minimum irreducible demands which include: supplementary budget for drugs and sundries, disbanding or restructuring of the State House Health Monitoring Unit, welfare and training of Senior House officers and intern doctors as well as duty facilitation allowances for all doctors in public service.

However, Daily Monitor understands that in a 3pm meeting on Monday chaired by the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, the doctors pledged to end the strike on Wednesday (tomorrow) on condition that government also put their commitments into writing as a way of coming out of industrial action.

An official who attended a State House meeting of only government officials on Monday  intimidated that President Museveni had directed the Ministry of Public Service and Finance to ensure that the pay of doctors is competitive, with a medical officer getting Shs5 million as opposed to the current pay of Shs1.3 million.

“He directed that Finance and Public Service to ensure that salary for doctors and other scientists is competitive within the region to stop the brain drain adding that the beginning should be Shs5 million for a medical officer,” an official who preferred anonymity said.  

However, Dr Kavuma said the industrial action which started on November 6, is still in full force until government issues out a written document which is expected later today.

eainebyoona@ug.nationmedia.com 

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