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Uganda Medical Association wants Covid-19 frontline workers permanently employed

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Doctors under their umbrella body The Uganda Medical Association (UMA) have renewed efforts to have health workers that had been recruited to assist in managing COVID-19 cases at the height of the second wave of the virus hired permanently.

In a Friday press conference, the Association President Dr. Samuel Oledo, said there are 535 unemployed health workers who were laid off when COVID-19 infections reduced but now with the surge in cases recently announced by the Ministry of Health, they need to be redeployed.

Health workers were recruited on emergency response contract terms which were later terminated in March, something that caused an uproar among health workers as some were still demanding salary arrears of over four months.

LineSteppa Community

Meanwhile, doctors are also raising concerns about being overworked because of the sixty percent staffing gap in government hospitals.

Dr. Herbert Luswata, the UMA General Secretary says even as the government has a plan to fill four hundred positions of doctors in Health Center IVs across the country, the staffing gap is still too big, and yet there are some 1900 jobless doctors looking for placement.

Responding to this, Prof. Pious OKong the Chairperson of the Health Service Commission has no plans of recruitment despite activism.

LineSteppa Community

“We can’t recruit them until we have a wage because we wouldn’t want to recruit and then accumulate arrears,” he said.

However, while he spoke during the Labor Day commemoration event in May, President Museveni directed the Ministry of Public Service to recruit over five hundred health personnel.

The association has given the government an ultimatum until July 20 to have their colleagues deployed, or they will consider laying down tools in solidarity.

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