Kiiza: money for paying doctors wasted on age limit

LoP Winnie Kiiza

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Winfred Kiiza, has spoken out on the on-going medical doctors’ strike and asked government to accord priority to the health sector.

Kiiza who was addressing a press conference on Monday said that medical practitioners want better service delivery for the health sector, which all Ugandans want, in addition to better remuneration.

“Hospitals are characterized by lack of equipment and funds; Ugandans are dying in hospitals and instead of the leaders doing something about it, they are looking for money to fund things that are not priorities like the constitutional amendment on Article 102(b) that calls for the presidential age limit removal,” she said.

Medical practitioners under the Uganda Medical Association last week called for industrial action over poor remuneration, lack of adequate equipment and drugs in health facilities.

Intern doctors have since joined in the action greatly affecting service delivery in government hospitals around the country.

The medical workers rejected a directive by the Ministry of Health to return to work pending the outcome of a government commissioned salary review process due end of November.

Kiiza also noted that Uganda funds only 50% of its health services, with the rest left to donor agencies, arguing that “government is focused on other lesser issues.”

“The Minister of Health has given orders that have a detrimental effect because the doctors cannot go back to work yet they have nothing to use, and in the end, mothers, children and men are dying,” Kiiza said, adding that, “I talked to a doctor who said that since the strike started, 60 people die per day. Government has to listen to the plight of doctors.”

She further questioned why it should be medical workers to make the sacrifice at the risk of their lives because they lack basic equipment such as gloves and disposable needles.

Kiiza requested the President to refocus on crucial matters like the health and agriculture to build the economy.

“Doctors cannot strike for over a week and nothing is done at all; that is a sign that the government is not taking the lives of Ugandans seriously,” Kiiza said.