PM NABBANJA: HERE IS THE DEAL M7 HAD WITH STRIKING MEDICAL DOCTORS DURING STATE H’SE MEETING
By Joel Mugabi
Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has written to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng and their Public Service counterpart Muruli Mukasa informing them of what the meeting between President Yoweri Museveni and striking doctors under their umbrella body, the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), resolved.
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At the start of this week, UMA declared a nationwide doctors’ strike, making several demands, which they said were aimed at improving their welfare and the health sector at large. The demands included: demand for the implementation of enhancement of salaries, with a newly appointed Medical doctor pocketing Shs5m every month as Museveni had previously promised; employment of medical doctors since the country needs them; compensation of families of medical workers who died of Covid19 as well as scholarships for their children; a budget for provision of adequate medicines and medical supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in health facilities; clearance of the contribution of Shs4bn balance of the Shs5bn Presidential pledge to the UMA SACCO; as well as procurement of vehicles for Senior Consultants in line with their entitlements and duty free incentives for medical doctors and all other Health workers.
According to Nabbanja, during the November 23 meeting at State House Entebbe, Museveni and the UMA leadership agreed on a number of interventions to help resolve the outstanding issues, and setting new timelines for the fulfillment of government pledges.
“On implementation of salary enhancement, Government is committed to pay Shs5m monthly as starting salary for Medical Officers effective Financial Year 2022-23. The Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Public Service and Health should effect this without fail,” wrote Nabbanja.
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“The Ministry of Public Service is directed to ensure that positions of Medical Officers are established up to the sub-county level beginning 1st July, 2022. At least one Medical Officer should be recruited in every Health Center Ill and three Medical Officers at Health Center IV.”
The Prime Minister also revealed that the Museveni Government will be recruiting all doctors willing to work for Government upon completion of internship. Museveni also directed the Ministries of Finance, Public Service and the Attorney General to study the possibility of reducing the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax from 30 per cent to 10 per cent within the law as well as the possibility of importing vehicles free of taxes for medical doctors and other health workers. Also, the President directed that vehicles for senior consultants be included in the 2022-23 budget.
President Museveni further ordered Betty Amongi, the Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development, to set up and chair a committee comprising the Ministries of Health, Public Service, Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Attorney General, and representative of Uganda Medical Association to “guide on the legalities and way forward” regarding the compensation of the families of health workers who died on the Covid19 frontline.
“On the provision of scholarships to some orphans of medical workers who died of Covid19, Government will consider this, provided the students are studying sciences. The Ministries of Education and Sports, Health and Gender, Labor and Social Development should work together to advise on this,” said Nabbanja.
On the demand for adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Covid19, medicines and other consumables, Ministers Dr Jane Ruth Aceng and Matia Kasaija have been directed to “ensure that health facilities have proper quantification of requirements and adequate supplies at any one time.”
“In addition, the Ministry of Health is directed to emphasize disease prevention and health promotion to reduce the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, which consume a lot of medicines and supplies,” added Nabbanja. “Furthermore, the IT Solution to stop the stealing of medicines should be funded and rolled out to all government health facilities and strictly implemented.”
The President has also promised to complete his outstanding contribution of Shs4bn to the UMA SACCO. The man from Rwakitura has since ordered the State House Comptroller to ensure that the money is sent to the association’s accounts within the current financial year. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us email@example.com).