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Fresh doctors' strike looms in Uganda


Doctors in Uganda’s public hospitals suspended a three-week strike that paralysed the health sector last month, as they hold negotiations with the government over poor work conditions and low pay.

The doctors returned to work on November 25.

They were protesting nationwide over lack of essential supplies like medicines, gloves, disinfectant, electricity and even water in public hospitals and harassment from state officials said to arrest doctors routinely over trumped up cases that are eventually dropped.

Of course a cabinet is supposed to have its input and maybe we can have a look at it on 15th December.

“Of course a cabinet is supposed to have its input and maybe we can have a look at it on 15th December. That was why when we suspended the strike it is up to 16th until we review the document from public service and then we see if we are happy about it because this will be included in the next financial year so if we are contented then work will continue,“said Dr Fauz Kavuma, spokesperson, Uganda Medical Association.

Caught in the dispute between government and doctors, relatives were forced to care for ill patients, changing their bedding, cleaning them and even administering medication.

“When you get a chance to see a doctor who prescribes medication, you go to the pharmacy and it is often not available so you have to buy it elsewhere yet there is no money. I’m asking the government to increase pay for doctors so they can return to work otherwise a lot of people are dying in the village. Even when they are advised to go to a hospital there are no doctors,” said Tewo Nambooze, a patient.

Healthcare in the East African country is in free fall as corruption and mismanagement eat up the government of President Yoweri Museveni who has ruled for 31 years, critics say.

During the strike, some wards at various health facilities were completely empty, as patients sought treatment from private caregivers.

The ministry of health said the government is willing to raise doctors’ salaries and address their other concerns but they should be patient.

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