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Doctors suspend strike until next year

Doctors in public health facilities have further suspended their strike until next year after government settling part of their demands.

They had threated to resume strike on Sunday (December 16).

Dr Ekwaro Obuku, the president of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), said they reached the decision during a Friday morning meeting with the Ministry of Health officials, yet they also expect an upsurge in the number of patients during the festive season.

“We have opted for this option, further suspending the Industrial Action, taking into consideration of the festive season where safety is compromised in terms of road traffic accident causalities.

The progress we have made with government in renewing constructive engagement and the need to go back to the drawing table to recrystalise our next quest as Ugandan doctors,” Dr Obuku said.

Dr Obuku made the declaration at a Friday afternoon press conference held at Mulago Hospital Guest House in Kampala.

However, although government paid post graduate student doctors who are also involved in clinical services as part of their academic syllabus, those in private health facilities and foreigners have not been considered pending the expedition of a policy on interns and SHOs.

The doctors had on Wednesday this week threatened to resume strike that was suspended two weeks back, over what they termed as ‘violation’ of their earlier joint resolutions with government, specifically the payment of Senior House Officers.

They also cited the government failure to deliver on its promise to ensure sufficient supply of drugs and reagents in government health facilities before December 15, the date they had promised to resume strike if government did not act.

However, government has since fulfilled its promise to increase the medical interns’ monthly allowances to Shs950, 000 from Shs750, 000.

Government this week also announced that Public servants in the sectors of Education, Local Government, Internal Affairs, Health, Judiciary, Defence and Security, would have their salaries enhanced in the first phase, starting July next year.

The earlier decision to suspend their strike up to December 16, was reached at on November 25, during an emergency General Assembly, after government promised to have delivered on some of their demands.

The strike which started on November 6, saw medical services in government aided hospitals paralysed with doctors listing a raft of demand s, including enhanced duty facilitation allowances, disbandment of the State House Health Monitoring Unit and a steady supply of sundries and other medical supplies in hospitals before they return to work.

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