Uganda Medical Association President Dr.Odong Samuel Oledo has vocalized how medics will only call off their strike when at least some of the President’s promises made to them are fulfilled.
This was during The Fatboy Show with Olive today morning where the Doctor was explaining that they don't necessarily want all the seven promises fulfilled at the same time but at least have one or two to be put into effect by the end of this financial year .
“We want promises that can be implemented and attached to a time frame. Our request is simple: out of the seven promises from the directives of the President, can we get at least two or three out of the seven implemented before the next financial year? Should we wait for all of them in the next financial year yet we have waited since 2017 in vain?” He asked.
On Monday, public health workers comprising of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and surgeons launched a sit-down strike over the government's unfulfilled promises regarding salary increment and improving poor working conditions.
Yesterday, their umbrella body Uganda Medical Association and its council elders had a meeting with President Museveni and representatives of cabinet ministers to resolve the same issues. However, they have since vowed not to pick up their working tools until some of these get resolved.
Among these is compensation for the families of doctors who died in the course of treating Covid-19 patients; whose families are now struggling to survive, the UMA president said.
“We are asking- why can't you compensate these doctors who lost their lives while providing a service yet you can compensate soldiers of the UPDF before they even get to their graves?” He added, “The justification of where they contracted Covid from to get compensation was an insult to the medical profession because it is simple for the Ministry of Finance to clarify where they died and how they got it by making a follow up on their 14-day incubation periods spent while taking care of Covid-19 patients in the hospitals.”
The UMA President went on to say, “Doctors were attached to hospitals and were always recorded. Presuming that they got the virus from bars or markets is an insult to the profession because when UPDF soldiers die, there isn't question of how they do.”
According to Dr.Odong, during the meeting the President became bitter on realization that earlier promises regarding the doctors’ welfare had not been solved by the concerned ministries.
He added that in the same meeting, the President assured them of getting duty-free vehicles which will require stickers to access the right of way to enable them to beat traffic when rushing to save lives.
However, when asked about the Finance Ministry’s response to the presidential directives, the Doctor responded; “As usual, the Finance Minister said that there is no money yet he’s always saying the economy of Uganda is increasing, so what is the priority yet there is classified expenditure that can be applied to Health Ministry as was directed to the UPDF.”
“We have only UGX 2.5 trillion allocated to the Ministry of Health, another UGX500 billion is going to be allocated but all we are saying is that if an extra UGX1 trillion is added, that is when issues concerning accommodation, welfare, drugs, transportation of doctors will be resolved.”
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, Sarah and Lesham every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.