8 November 2017

Uganda: Govt Appeals to Doctors to Return to Work

Photo: The Independent
Mulago is one of the hospitals hit by a doctors' strike.

Kampala — Government will fully address concerns raised by doctors from the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) after it finalises the Public Service pay policy which is intended to eliminate pay disparities and ensure pay enhancement across the Public Sector.

Doctors under UMA started industrial action on Monday November 6, 2017, saying government has not responded to calls for better remuneration and favourable working conditions.

According to UMA president Ekwaro Obuku, they demand "an immediate supplementary budget for the health sector to urgently restock emergency - medicines in government facilities ; The immediate halt of the "war on doctors" and other health workers ; The immediate review of human capital development and working conditions including lifting the ban on recruitment, promotions, remuneration and training plus management of equipment and supplies."

A government statement released today however stated that some of the issues the doctors raised will be addressed in the Public Service pay policy exercise that is in its final stages. "Pay proposals were developed and are now being appraised to ascertain their viability and long-term sustainability," the statement said.

"It is expected that by end of November 2017, Government will pronounce itself on the matter.

Government will continue to engage all stakeholders on the issues raised by the Health workers with the view of addressing them in a holistic manner."

FULL STATEMENT

As you may all be aware, some Doctors under the Uganda Medical Association laid down their tools on Monday November 6, 2017, against claims that Government has not heeded to their cries on better remuneration and favourable working conditions.

A series of engagements have been held at different administrative and political levels to address the concerns raised by the doctors.

However, while engagements are still ongoing, the Doctors decided to start their industrial action.

The Government of Uganda would like to appreciate some of the issues raised by the Medical workers.

While some Doctors under Uganda Medical Association have taken industrial action, we wish to clarify as follows;

1. Intern Doctors are trainee Doctors who are not under formal employment and therefore are paid an allowance and not a salary.

2. Senior House Officers are post-graduate students in training, although some may be in formal employment by Government under study leave.

3. Uganda Medical Association (UMA) is a body that brings some Doctors together to discuss issues of professional interest.

4. Government signs recognition agreements with Public Service Labour Unions for purposes of negotiation and collective bargaining on matters concerning the welfare and working conditions of workers. For the workers in the Health Sector, Uganda Medical Workers' Union and Uganda Nurses and Midwives' Union signed recognition agreements.

Moving forward, Government will do the following;

- Maintain Interns' allowances at the same rate as last year, without reduction.

- Pay Senior House Officers after completing the verification exercise.

- Finalise the Public Service pay policy which is intended to eliminate pay disparities and ensure pay enhancement across the Public Sector. This exercise is in its final stages. Pay proposals were developed and are now being appraised to ascertain their viability and long-term sustainability.

It is expected that by end of November 2017, Government will pronounce itself on the matter.

Government will continue to engage all stakeholders on the issues raised by the Health workers with the view of addressing them in a holistic manner.

Government would like to appreciate the efforts of all the Health workers who have continued to deliver services to the public despite the challenges.

In a special way, Government applauds all patriotic Health workers who remained at their work stations to save lives.

Government appeals to all medical Doctors to return to work immediately as their concerns are being addressed.

Government also appeals to all civil servants to wait for completion of the salary harmonization exercise and its implementation.

Once again Government would like to reiterate its commitment to improving the welfare of all Health workers and other Public Servants in general.

Thank you.

For God and My Country

Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng - Minister of Health

David Karubanga - Minister of State for Public Service

Uganda

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