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Defiant doctors 'maintain strike' despite govt order

Despite last night’s government order, the striking medical workers have vowed not to return to work until their grievances are addressed. 

Yesterday night the health minister, Jane Ruth Aceng ordered all the striking medical workers to resume work immediately or else face the sack.

Aceng said President Museveni had ordered all Resident District Commissioners (RDC) to supervise health centres in their respective areas and make note of absentee doctors for further disciplinary action.

Defiant: The medical doctors have said they will maintain their industrial action

In response today, under their umbrella body, the Uganda Medical Association, the defiant doctors instead threatened to even withdraw the emergency medical services they are currently offering if government continues threatening them. Currently, the medical workers in government hospitals are only working on pregnant women and patients with emergency needs.

On Monday this week, the medical workers laid down their tools in protest against low pay and government’s failure to provide equipment and medicines in health facilities.

Dr Ekwaru Obuku, president of Uganda Medical Association (UMA) said today that they are not cowed by the threats from government as that was expected anyway.

He said government is the mother and chief organiser of health strikes in the country by not providing enough resources in terms of medicines and equipment to the health sector.

Obuku said they are following the World Medical Association guidelines and will continue providing skeleton health workers to provide emergency medical services.

“During industrial action actually patients die less or the number remains about the same”, he said.

“One thing I need to make very very clear is that the chief striker…the chief organiser of all mother of strikes in the health sector is the government itself…If you go to Kabale referral hospital and the hospital has six doctors  instead of over 20. Who is organising that strike, isn’t the government?”, Obuku asked.

In issuing out the orders to medical workers yesterday, Aceng said all medical interns who have been "misled" into joining the industrial action have no option but to return to work, else they will have to forfeit the missed days and will have to reapply again for internship. But UMA says participation in industrial action doesn’t legally warrant any worker’s sacking.

The doctors maintained that interns cannot work without the supervision of the medical workers in the hospital. Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo said industrial action is a legal right protected under Article 40 of the 1995 Constitution.

“Our interpretation is that anybody who attempts to punish, threaten or intimidate a doctor taking part in this industrial action is actually overthrowing the Constitution of Uganda [and] should be arrested for treason - possibly a citizens arrest by the doctors themselves. We’re more than them and we don’t want to start using needles and syringes to catch them”, Obuku said.

Obuku said as medical workers they are ready for talks with government and that threatens are not what they are after but rather finding a lasting resolution to the issues raised. 

Comments   

+3 #1 saeguya 2017-11-10 18:51
Even Mr M7 has the right to protest and to be in an industrial action against the massive Ugandan population that keeps electing him.

He needs to carry out this protest with his counterparts Mugabe, Hosni Mubarak, salva kiir, Bashir, kabira, kagame, and all these other popular presidents. We promise we won't harass you all.
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+5 #2 Empayippayi 2017-11-10 18:54
I thought the Ssabalwanyi had plan "B". Threats to dismiss the strikers cannot resolve the issue.

Instead of wasting money on popularising the life presidency, the Ssabalwanyi should hurry up and pay all public servants adequately or better still he should pack his bags and leave State House for good!
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+3 #3 kabayekka 2017-11-10 19:20
The Longest time serving government of Uganda must stop blaming the medical staff for their un called for super national expenditures.

African medical insurance fund would help many tax paying poor people on the continent.

African governments would not have to touch or withdraw any money from this medical fund for their ever increasing ambitious expenditures.

The fund will only be responsible for such a crisis as this one and many more expensive medical problems that have refused to go away on this continent.
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0 #4 Akot 2017-11-10 20:52
Empayippayi, understood, but,

It's just a wish because museveni, like any dictator-conqueror, will NEVER leave unless a United people force him out!

Ugandans alone, in Unity, will force museveni out then leave no chance for USA-EU-UN to just go along saying it's a peaceful-prosperous country!

The power to throw museveni out lies in the hand of each & every Ugandan but they Must join hands!

As it is, museveni has full control because: tribal leaders are maintaing the tribalistic system & there is no National opposition leadership, while tax money comes in peace & in time for the demon!

How can there be change of leadership in such situation?

Say, if museveni drops dead now, who will take his place, if not his family member?
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+2 #5 dembula 2017-11-11 01:31
I think all striking personnel should take heart from the M7/NRM's reaction.

When people resort to threats they have lost the argument.

It's been 30 odd years in the making - A car crash happening in slow motion before our very eyes.

The short term aim of enriching a few at the expense of the many using the resources provided by the many is coming back to haunt M7 and co. No point in blaming us for their own avoidable mistakes.

You make your bed, you lie in it. It is time for a fundamental change. Remember that phrase???
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+1 #6 Dr J. Derrick 2017-11-11 09:24
Do not give in to intimidation to bullying and blackmail by a leader of a government who has squandered all the good will , trust and popularity among the public in Uganda and indeed world wide by failing to deliver the most basic needs of the citizenry : Quality education, Healthcare for all, infra structure and equal opportunity for all based on merit, The current system has created a class of non productive bureaucrats and an un-wieldy parliament stacked with MPs of very low calibre who are highly over rated and over paid draining national coffers and resources that would fund worth while causes.

This is a government that pays more money to nefarious themes like age limit removal but cannot find money to pay doctors , nurses , teachers and other professionals a living wage- yet every day one hears of mega million dollars scandals of moneys being wasted and swindled , A 'hippocratic" oath is not a vow to live a life of poverty under un- caring government.
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