The Uganda Medical Association (UMA) has announced its intention to initiate a general strike, commencing on August 1, in response to the government’s failure to address their concerns.
The strike, if carried out, will result in doctors abstaining from work until their demands are met, including the deployment of medical interns and the resolution of related issues.
Dr. Herbert Luswata, the Secretary-General of UMA, emphasized that the Ministry of Finance must allocate funds for the deployment and allowances of medical interns and Senior House Officers (SHOs), as instructed by Cabinet. He highlighted that Parliament had also recommended budgetary provisions to cover intern and SHO allowances.
The absence of interns has placed an immense burden on doctors, preventing them from delivering adequate care to patients. Luswata lamented the prolonged non-deployment of medical interns, leaving the UMA with no alternative but to initiate a nationwide industrial action encompassing all medical professionals from August 1, 2023.
The consequences of this staffing shortage are evident, with patients enduring extended waiting times and, in some cases, being forced to leave without receiving the medical attention they require.
Dr. Luswata further expressed concerns about medical doctors, pharmacists, and nurses who remain unemployed after completing their studies. Many have been sidelined for a year or more due to the absence of practising licenses, which can only be obtained through the completion of mandatory one-year medical internships—an opportunity that has long been overdue.
The UMA’s decision to pursue a strike reflects the growing frustration among medical professionals and their commitment to advocating for better working conditions and the deployment of interns.
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