President Yoweri Museveni has urged striking frontline medical workers to return to work and wait for their “banked allowances.”
“So the issue is hazard allowances, not salaries….Those doctors should not slow down. These people are keeping your money in the bank,” he said June 25 while presiding virtually held national prayers for soaring Covid-19 cases and fatalities.
Medical workers placed in Covid-19 epicenters in some parts of the country recently protested over lack of medical supplies like PPEs and non-payment of their allowances from October 2020 to June 2021.
“The hazard allowances will be paid later,” Mr Museveni disclosed at State House Entebbe.
Asked by Mr Museveni to explain issues revolving around grievances of medical workers, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary (PS) Diana Atwine said: “Last year we received one batch of risk allowances for doctors which we paid.”
PS Atwine, without certainly specifying the actual time and the amount available to meet the medical workers' allowance budget- emphasized government’s position on the matter.
“Last week, we sat with the finance ministry and they allowed us to use some money that was stipulated for something else and we shall use it to pay them,” she said.
Amidst surging Covid-19 cases and related fatalities, Mr Museveni said the nation is ‘simply’ paying the price for individual-recklessness in dealing with the contagion.
“Even with carelessness, 830 people have died in the last one and a half years. We warned you about the virus but people don’t listen,” he said.
Uganda on June 25 also recorded 1, 025 new Covid-19 cases as its cumulative infection tally since the outbreak hit 76, 562.
‘‘Whatever man sows is what he reaps. We’re not using the superior knowledge that God gave us. Science is about understanding the work of God. This crisis was caused by not listening to God’s command in the Genesis - to establish dominion over nature and creation,” the president said.
Through his speech that centered on biblical summons, Mr Museveni rebuked advocates of religious congregation in prayer and worship hubs.
“If a crisis like this comes and we die, what example are religious denominations showing. We cannot only say pray, pray without any effort, I reject that. If I was still active in the church, I would have started my science-led church,” he said.
Mr Museveni said Covid-19 was highly conquerable only if the right things were done, adding that health authorities should review the criteria of accrediting essential workers during the 42-day lockdown.
“The issue should not be who is important but who is much more needed in a situation of an emergency or crisis like this one. The whole strategy of defeating Covid-19 is in reducing the numbers,” he remarked.
“We have testimonies that show things done 2,000 years ago like social distancing were a successful solution in fighting diseases like epilepsy,” Mr Museveni explained before he again hinted at the possibility of having Uganda-made therapeutics in “a few weeks’ time.”