The speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah has tasked government to intervene in the ongoing strike by Butabika Mental Referral hospital medical workers and support staff.
Nakawa East MP, Ronald Nsubuga Balimwezo on Wednesday raised a matter of national importance regarding the strike by the hospital staff which started on September 20 over the absence of enough security.
The hospital is Uganda’s only referral for mentally ill patients and it treats about 7,000 inpatient and 30,000 outpatient mental health cases annually.
“I am rising on a point of urgent public importance. On 20th September, medical workers and support staff of Butabika hospital went on strike, this paralyzed operations of the facility and also caused inconvenience to the facility users…particularly the mentally challenged patients,” Balimwezo said in part.
He noted that the medics and support staff at the facility laid down their tools due to a lack of enough security within the facility. Balimwezo said that the hospital is operating at less than 40 per cent security on top of the absence of enough medicine for patients.
"You're aware that the patients received in that facility are basically aggressive, very very violent and therefore, they need some energy, some power to be handled and dedication. Rt. Hon. speaker, nurses at that facility are in fear because the patients they operate on are basically criminally irresponsible, and the nurses and other medical staff have no legal protection at all. They are in fear, many of them are on PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis] because they have been raped by these challenged people," said Balimwezo.
Oulanyah said that the government ought to immediately intervene to enable medical workers carry on with their duties without worry. He said the matter needs urgent action so that the hospital returns to normalcy.
"I think the urgent matter is that there is a strike, there are patients who need to be looked after and medical workers have all decided to sit down and not do anything because they have issues. I think that is the urgent issue that we need to deal with," said Oulanyah.
Lukia Nakadama, the 3rd deputy prime minister said that she had noted the matter and the minister of Security and minister of Health would assess the situation and immediately find solutions.