Speaking to the press conference on behalf of the Doctors, Senior Housing Officers (SHO) on sunday, Dr Robert Lubega, from Mulago National Referral Hospital said the government had released allowance arrears for two out of four months (November and December) to some continuing senior house officers.
SHO’s who had laid down their tools last month on the 16th of february over unpaid allowances, have suspended the strike after government commenced remitting their arrears. The most affected hospitals included Mulago referral in Kawempe and Jinja Regional Referral hospital.
Dr Lubega said that the decision to suspend the industrial action that had lasted about two weeks was intended to allow time for engagements with the government to discuss and implement the recommended short term and long-term solutions.
He continued that, “following the gesture from the ministry of health, the steps taken by National Resistance Movement (NRM) secretary general, Mr Richard Todwong, and the support shown to us by the Parliamentary Health Committee in prioritising our issues, the SHOs held a general assembly this week and resolved to suspend the industrial action for one month as we allow time for engagements to discuss and implement the recommended short term and long term solutions as presented by the Uganda Medical Association (UMA).”
However, he noted that the first years and some continuing SHOs have not been paid as the Ministry of Health claims to have a budget deficit of about Shs8.36 billion per year that is not able to facilitate all the 692 SHOs in the country.
The team noted that if their issues were not solved within a period of one month, they would have no option other than resume the industrial action.
“This will mean that the first years who haven’t received anything now, will have missed payment for five months after the end of this month, which will not be fair for them to continue serving Ugandans on empty stomachs,” Dr Lubega stated.
Speaking about the health ministry’s budget deficit, Dr Andrew Muyanga, the team’s publicity secretary said the ministry needs proper planning and making proper future projections to solve such issues.
He added that, “the ministry needs to sit down and plan better and all this can be solved through the National Task force which was recommended by Prof Francis Omaswa.”
The senior medical doctors also want the national health workforce planning committee to be instituted as per the June 1, 2021 presidential directive.
Among other grievances, they want government to advertise and recruit medical officers special grade and consultants in the regional referral hospitals to fill the 70 percent vacancies of specialists in government health facilities, they also called for enhancement training of senior house officers and medical interns.
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