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Doctors want sh8m for an intern: Are their demands realistic?

By Vivian Agaba, Carol Kasujja

Added 7th November 2017 09:43 AM

They doctors want a senior consultant to be paid a gross salary of sh48m, a five-bedroom house, 4.0cc vehicle and three domestic workers

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They doctors want a senior consultant to be paid a gross salary of sh48m, a five-bedroom house, 4.0cc vehicle and three domestic workers

The minister of state for public service, David Karubanga (left), Sarah Opendi (centre) and Rugunda (right) interact during the doctors meeting at Makerere yesterday. Photo by Shamim Saad

The Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and state minister for health, Sarah Opendi were yesterday booed by medical doctors under their umbrella body, Uganda Medical Association (UMA).

During their annual general meeting held at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, the doctors agreed to lay down tools, until the Government responds to their needs including raising their salaries.

When Rugunda stood up to address them, they began booing and chanting: “We are tired of hot air”.

“The Government is fully aware of your position and a salary review committee has been put in place to revise ways of harmonising salaries among different categories of civil servants,” he said

“I advise that the industrial action is suspended as we work together to find a lasting solution,” he said

When Opendi stood up to speak, some doctors started shouting on top of their voices demanding that she first apologises for the incident which took place at Naguru recently.

Dressed in a hijab and a veil to disguise herself as a patient, Opendi recently arrested two health workers at Naguru-China Friendship Hospital after they allegedly asked her for a bribe to access treatment.

She was, however, saved by the association’s president, Dr  Ekwaro Obuku who said she will not apologise, but even when she tried to speak, few were willing to listen.  

What doctors want?

The medical practitioners want the Government to review their salaries to an extent that the current sh900, 000 that an intern doctor earns is upped to sh8.5m.

They also want a medical officer or teaching assistant to be paid sh15m and accorded a two-bedroom house and a 2.5cc vehicle, while a senior consultant doctor or professor will be the highest paid health worker, with a gross salary of sh48m, a five-bedroom house, 4.0cc vehicle and three domestic workers.

Currently, a senior consultant doctor earns about sh3.4m, consultant sh2.6m and a medical officer sh1.1m.

Doctors also want salaries for nurses and midwives enhanced to about sh6.5m in addition to a three-bedroomed house, 2.0cc vehicle and one domestic worker.

Dr Ekwaro Obuku, the UMA president, said that they have waited since 1996 and they cannot take it anymore. He said they took the oath to serve not to live in poverty.

“It is not yet Uhuru (independence) for medical doctors. Ugandan health workers are not well placed to save the life of Ugandans due to poor equipment and supplies. We are not going to work till Government fulfills its promises,” Obuku said.

 

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