By Our Reporter.
Ugandan Medical practitioners, who had vowed to shut down all hospitals throughout the country if government did not effect their salary increment as directed by President Museveni, will not implement their plans.
This follows positive response from government after the Health Ministry officials and the Parliamentary Committee on Health services held a meeting recently with the leadership of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) and discussed their grievances..
The doctors, who had issued a three –month ultimatum to government with a November 6, 2021 deadline for salary enhancements to be effected or else withdraw their services , will now give government departments time to work on the matter.
Medical practitioners made a presentation to Parliamentary Committee on Health Services and the Ministry of Health and it was resolved that the Ministries of Public Service and that of Finance and Economic planning to act on their grievances.
Uganda Medical Association President Dr Richard Idro told the Workers Eye that they agreed with the Parliamentary Committee on Health services that the Ministry of Health should seek for supplementary budget to cover doctors’ salaries.
He said increment for doctors’s salaries was agreed upon during a June 1, 2021 meeting between President Yoweri Museveni and the leadership of the medical association at Stae House Entebe.
“ President Museveni reiterated government’s commitment to effect salary enhancement for medical practitioners and other scientists in a science led development.
The meeting at State House was attended by Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine, Director General Medical Services Dr Henry Mwebesa, former Director General Medical Services Prof. Francis Omaswa, Medical Association Vice President Dr Stephen Ataro Ayella and Secretary General Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, among others.
President Museveni told the doctors that each of them would get Ushs 5 million as a starting salary and Ushs 17m for a Senior Consultant starting July, 2021.
The head of State agreed to pay Professors Ushs 15m per month, University lecturers Ushs 12.2m. Currently an intern is paid Ushs 940,000/- gross salary, a medical Officer Ushs 3m and a Senior Consultant Ushs 7.3m.
Dr Idro said they were amazed that the national budget for the Financial years 2021 – 2022 does not include the Presidential directive which puts the welfare of medical practitioners into jeopardy.
He said:” We held meetings with relevant government entities but Finance and Economic Planning and Public Service Ministry officials avoided meeting us.”
Medical practitioners are wonder ing why they have been reduced to paupers who must always organise strikes as the only way in which government listens to their grievances and acts on them.
Dr Idro said only 40 per cent of available positions for doctors are filled up yet the country has many young doctors unemployed and who get forced to seek employment abroad.
Doctors want government to provide medical insurance to medical officers after 20 doctors died recently during the second wave of Covid -19 pandemic.
The chairperson Parliament health committee, Dr Charles Ayume, recommended that Parliament urgently addresses the demands including proposal to purchase cars for the medical consultants ■