The Uganda Medical Association (UMA) has called for a nation-wide industrial action. Since the 6th of November, doctors are on strike under the slogan “Fix health or the stethoscopes are rested”. On the 9th of November UMA announced:
“We are Striking for Citizens
As Doctors we regrete the Unfortunate Statement from MoH regarding this ongoing Strike. For example look at our 3 Issues being raised.
1-Medical Supply should improve so that you don't buy drugs and gloves from out. This will reduce death from emergencies and motivate us to work.
2-Disband HMU which has taken over the role of UMDPC. We need professional sanity in Uganda' health-care.
3-Improvement in our Welfare. Sincerely a Dr getting 280$ (960,000Ugx) per month is not accepted. This results into frequent absentism so that mothers bleed to death before the Dr could arrive timely.
We equally think other cardres like Nurses, laboratory people, Imaging, clinical officers and other cadres be paid well to improve care for Ugandans.
Uganda's annual Lost to corruption is 300,000,000USD, we are asking for 8% of such loss.
200-300Billion is used by MPs and Minister to be treated in India. Sincerely why can't we allocate 9%, 12% and 15% to Health”
In a press release on the 11th of November, Uganda’s Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng responded to the industrial action. She declared the strike to be illegal since UWA is not a trade union and that the law of Uganda only allows registered unions to call for a strike:
“The Uganda Medical Association is not a registered trade union and cannot enjoy the rights, immunities and privileges provided under the labour unions Act, as the only accrue to registered unions”
Further Aceng declares “… The involvement of UMA in influencing the public service activities by calling on doctors to strike is illegal and should cease henceforth and perpetuators should be treated as trespassers”.
Aceng also announces that “All Medical Workers who are misled to join the strike must resume duty with immediate effect”
Read the whole press release here http://health.go.ug/download/file/fid/1697
Q1: What is your view of the strike?
Q2: Is the strike justified?
Q3: How can the conflict be solved?