Uganda Cancer Institute staff call off sit-down strike

A doctor attends to patients inside the Chemotherapy Infusion Department at the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala on January 10, 2022. PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • The health workers agreed to resume work after the management of the institute agreed to pay the arrears this week.

Staff at Uganda Cancer Institute, who went on a sit-down strike over delayed salaries on Monday, have resumed work, according to the hospital authorities.

The latest development comes after the leadership of the institute promised to pay their December salaries by the end of this week.

“We communicated with our staff. Finance released the money and we have initiated the payment process. We expect staff to get their salaries within the week,” Dr Nixon Niyonzima, the acting executive director of Uganda Cancer Institute, said in an interview yesterday.

When Monitor visited the institute, there was a bee-hive of activities, with cancer patients seeking treatment.

Dr Niyonzima said the institute is back to normal business.

“As you can see, the patients are receiving treatment and attention from the doctors and nurses, so there is no ongoing strike, they are back to work,” Dr Niyonzima said.

He, however, identified the large numbers of cancer patients, inadequate staff, and the need for more infrastructure development as some of the major challenges they face at the Institute.

A health worker at the institute, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they had gone on strike to ring a wake-up call to the hospital authorities who had delayed to pay their salaries.

“We have not yet received any money [salaries] on our accounts, but the hospital authorities say that will be worked upon this week,” he said.

“I am already on the ground because we signed an oath to serve.”

Mr Simon Mukisa, who had brought his ailing father, said the situation today (yesterday) is better than that of Monday as the number of doctors attending to patients has increased.

“Yesterday, you had to wait for hours for your patient to be attended to, but now, the process is quick since we have more doctors,” Mr Mukisa said.

Ms Moureen Akello, a caretaker to a cancer patient at the institute, said many people queued for treatment on Monday, causing a crisis in having timely treatment.

Health workers across the country have been repeatedly going on strike over delays in salaries, which poses a danger to the lives of patients.