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Long lines at hospitals as doctors resume work

By Nelson Kiva, Martin Kitubi, Violet Nabatanzi

Added 28th November 2017 08:23 AM

At a number of health facilities, mainly hospitals visited by New Vision, doctors were back and all the units were functioning to expectation.

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At a number of health facilities, mainly hospitals visited by New Vision, doctors were back and all the units were functioning to expectation.

Patients sighed with relief as medics returned to work at public health facilities yesterday.

The national executive committee of the Uganda Medical Association declared the suspension of the strike until December 16, at a meeting convened at Silver Spring Hotel in Kampala, on Saturday.

The association chairperson, Dr Okwaro Obuku, asked the medics to return to work until December 16, when negotiations with government to improve the general welfare of medical personnel are expected to end.

At a number of health facilities, mainly hospitals visited by New Vision, doctors were back and all the units were functioning to expectation.

At Mulago National Referral Hospital, the doctors, specialists, consultants, senior house officers and intern medical personnel were found at their different duty stations.

The patients' turn up was overwhelming as usual in the emergency, casualty and general wards.

The hospital spokesperson, Enock Kusasira, said 90% of the doctors and 80% of intern medical students had turned up for work.

Kusasira said the clinics which were mainly affected by the doctors’ strike include Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), Dental and Immunisation section, among others.

He said the accident, emergency ward and acute care unit (where critically ill babies are admitted), were busy operating even during the strike.

At Kiruddu
At Kiruddu Hospital, activities at the assement centre had grinded to zero during the industrial action.

But according to Dr Dennis Kamara, the acting centre in charge, nine members of the section staff had reported on duty, except one who is on leave.

The section was created in 2000 to deal with pre-assessed patients cases since many people violated the referral process to move direct to Mulago Hospital.

“The staff is in place, but the number of patients is low. Since morning, we have worked on only 82 cases, less than third of people we handle on a daily basis”, he said.

At Kawempe Hospital, at the Low risk area the number of mothers with complications had also increased compared to past days. In addition, the family planning section and immunisation department were also full to capacity.

At Naguru
At 6:00am, patients had already arrived at China-Uganda Friendship Hospital in  Naguru, and by 9:00am queues were seen at the in-patient and immunisation departments.

Several doctors and nurses were already at work.

Hajarah Nalwoga, 27, an expectant mother said with only three weeks  left to deliver, the industrial action had upset her.

Harriet Nabwiire, 56, who is nursing heart complications, arrived at Kiruddu Hospital at 9:30am on Monday and was promptly worked on.

“The return of the doctors at work has given us relief. Last week, I came here and there was nobody to work on me. It really got me worried, but I am now confident that I will be okay,” she said.

The permanent secretary in the health ministry, Dr Diana Atwine, said: “As a ministry, we are yet to make an assessment of how the medics have returned to work, but as per the Saturday commitment, we are expecting all the doctors to be on duty.”

Government commitment
In the interim, the Government announced that sh4.2b had been released to the health ministry to cater for allowances of senior health officers. 

It also re-affirmed that the starting salary for doctors will be increased from the current sh1.3m to sh5m, effective next financial year.

The allowances for medical interns will also be reinstated to sh940,000.

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