What you need to know:
- The threat comes at a time when thousands of allied health professionals are on strike because low pay and poor working conditions. The strike by allied health professionals is already having serious effects on patients and quality of care.
Doctors under their body, the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), yesterday tasked the government to fulfill the promised salary increment in the coming financial year or else they lay down their tools.
The threat comes at a time when thousands of allied health professionals are on strike because of low pay and poor working conditions. The strike by allied health professionals is already having serious effects on patients and quality of care.
Addressing journalists yesterday at Mulago hospital, Dr Samuel Odongo Oledo, the president of UMA, said they temporarily halted the industrial action they had planned to start on May 1.
“Government gave us an assurance that what they promised is going to be implemented in this coming financial year but if it doesn’t fulfill the pledges, even in the predicament that we are going through as a country now, struggling left right and centre, doctors will have no choice but to go for the mother of all mothers [strike],” he said.
UMA last November went on strike over the same demands. The strike, which ran for a month, had devastating effects on patients.
It was suspended when the government delivered on some of the demands and agreed to implement the others in the Financial Year 2022/2023 budget.
But the doctors said their earlier plan to start the next strike on May 1 followed laxity by the government to deliver on the promises.
On April 14, Dr Oledo said according to the Ministry of Public Service announcement, the increments reflected for medical doctors from medical officer special grade (specialist) level up to the senior consultants were not in line with the presidential directive.
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Yesterday, he said: “The government showed great commitment when they worked on the salaries of the interns, to half of their professional cadres; an intern doctor is getting Shs2.5m. Since you have increased salaries of juniors, we are hopeful that the professional medical doctors are going to get their full pay of Shs5m.”
“And for those who are in practice; senior medical officers, senior medical consultants, their pay rise being considerately put to Shs8m, Shs12m for medical consultants and Shs13m for senior medical consultants,” he added.
Consultants currently earn Shs6m, medical officers (special grade) Shs4.5m, and senior medical officers Shs3.3m while medical officers, dental surgeons and pharmacists are paid Shs3m per month.
Dr Oledo said some of the other pledges by government are that senior medical consultants will be getting tax free vehicles and a health centre III must have medical officers so as to reduce the issue of unnecessary referrals. They also expect the 10 percent tax reduction to be implemented on the salaries of the health workers.
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When contacted, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, said doctors should be patient, adding that their pledges will be fulfilled as promised.