Tuesday, 28 May, 2024
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Ugandan doctors strike after no pay for four months

Doctors in Uganda have downed stethescopes and scalpels over the government’s failure to pay their allowances for four months.

According to general secretary of Senior House Officers (SHOs) Dr Robert Lubega, most of the “Senior House Officers” last received their allowances in October 2022.

SHOs are qualified senior medical doctors, registered with the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, who are undergoing postgraduate work-study training to become specialists in various fields. The Ministry of Health describes them as “supplementing the provision of medical services”, reports Nile Post.

Lubega said the typical day for an SHO starts at 6am with ward rounds; many head to theatre and perform lifesaving procedures on patients they’ve prepared the previous day. “Evening ward rounds follow with a section doing overnight call duty on a rotational basis.”

He said the SHOs also train, mentor and supervise the less experienced intern doctors and medical students.

The Ugandan Monitor said SHOs provide more than 63% of the hospitals’ workforce at Mulago and Mbarara Referral Hospitals, with an estimated 1 101 311 patient–doctor consultations and treatment in 2014 (25 000 were childbirths).

The vacancy rate for Ugandan specialists is at 70%.

In 2021, the Secretary-General of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) said that every year, 500 medical doctors qualify from universities but most move out of the country to work for better salaries.

Hebert Luswata told Anadolu Agency that the government does not recruit most doctors, claiming it does not have money to pay them.

“The government employs only 1 600 doctors, yet there are 4 000 vacant posts in government hospitals lacking doctors,” he said.

Luswata added that there are more than 2 700 doctors in Uganda but they are not employed and are planning to move to other countries, “probably the UK, US, Kenya, Rwanda and Botswana”.

Hundreds of doctors and other healthcare workers move from Uganda every year after qualifying in universities and health education institutions, lured by the greener pastures of developed countries.


NilePost article – Medics declare industrial action starting Monday after going four months without pay (Open access)


Monitor article – Specialist doctors on strike, demand four months' Pay (Open access)


Anadolu Agency article – Poor pay forcing Ugandan doctors to flee to other countries (Open access)


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