The Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza has faulted government for threatening Medical Workers who are striking in pursuit of better wages and working conditions.
Her concerns come after Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said that Uganda Medical Association (UMA), the umbrella association championing the nationwide strike is an illegal entity and henceforth not legally mandated to negotiate for the welfare of medical workers. Dr Aceng said that the strike is illegal and ordered all medical workers and interns to resume work with immediate effect.
According to Dr Aceng, President Museveni had directed Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) to carry out a roll call for doctors and health workers on duty at all health facilities to keep a record of who is working and who is not. RDCs will among other things record the time of reporting to work of all health workers plus monitoring the usage of medicines.
However, Ms Kiiza faults the government for failing to set its priorities right while at the same time ignoring the plight of the people.
"Telling the Doctors to stop the strike without offering a solution does not help. The government needs to realign its priorities and put Ugandans first. You cannot allocate money for a non-priority and then the priority suffers," Ms Kiiza said.
She added that a government that can allocate billions of shillings to facilitate consultations on proposed constitutional amendments has the ability to sort out the rampant strike amongst civil servants. The government recently allocated about Shs13 billion to MPs to consult constituents on the proposal to lift the cap on the presidential age, provided for in the constitution.
Ms Kiiza says it's unfortunate that ministers and government officials are dishing out money in the name of consultations, yet they are failing to listen to Ugandans and instead of threatening them.
Doctors started the nationwide strike on Monday demanding that the government enhances their allowances including overtime, housing, transport and medical risk among others.
They in particular are seeking an increase in the salary of medical interns from Shs960, 000 to Shs8.5 million. They also demand that medical assistant and teaching assistants should be facilitated to earn up to Shs15 million, get a two-bedroom house and a 2.5cc vehicle.
They also want the government to pay a senior Consultant Doctor or professor Shs48 million including allowances; provide him with a five-bedroom house, 4.0cc vehicle and three domestic workers. Currently, a senior consultant doctor earns about Shs3.4 million, consultants earn Shs2.6 million and a Medical Officer earns Shs1.1 million.
The doctors also want salaries for nurses and midwives enhanced to about Shs6.5 million besides providing them with a three-bedroomed house, 2.0cc vehicle and one domestic worker.