The president of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), Dr Ekwaro Obuku has accused government of being the major cause and organiser of their industrial action.
For five days now, doctors and interns in public hospitals have been on strike citing failure by government to address their grievances on salary and working conditions.
The striking doctors also threatened to withdraw the emergency services they have been providing during the strike.
Speaking to journalists in Kampala regarding their strike, Dr. Obuku said that the doctors’ strike is being facilitated by government.
“If you ask me who is organising these strikes, government is the major organiser. If you go to a hospital and find 6 doctors yet they are supposed to deploy 20, who is responsible should a strike happen? Of course the government,” he said.
“The chief striker is government, it has not paid its price, there are no drugs low human resource, no blood, mothers have been dying in our hands, hospitals have been labelled markets for coffins. These are the reasons we are striking, so government should not only look at salary demands,” he added.
Among other issues that were addressed during the press briefing, doctors said they will only reconsider their actions after meeting president Museveni.
“We are maintaining and scaling up medical emergency though some of our colleagues are considering even withdrawing these” Obuku said.
They also demanded that government institutes a standard salary structure for medical interns who are the gatekeepers of public healthcare system, disbands the Health Monitoring Unit (HMU) that they accuse of mistreating doctors and provide duty allowances.
The doctors also hinted that they will summon the minister of health for disciplinary action since she is a member of the UMA but acting on the contrary.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng on Thursday ordered the doctors to resume work immediately, threatening to fire those who didn’t.
In regards to the instructions, Doctors under the Uganda Medical Association have said they were considering returning to work but the Health Minister’s statement declaring their strike illegal, threatens the progress they have made in negotiations with the government.
The Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, gave eight points intended to drive the doctors back to work. Among them was that the strike is illegal and that they should immediately resume their duties. The minister added that intern doctors who don’t comply will lose their placements.