Doctors’ strike: No breakthrough in sight after hours in a meeting at Statistics house

As Uganda marked 55yrs of independence, the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) announced the start of country-wide industrial action by it’s members.

The industrial action would start on 6 Nov 2017 after the conserned authorities didn’t address their demands.

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Since then many doctors have withdrawn their labour from most public health facilities limiting themselves to handling only emergencies.

Atleast that was the case until a MoH statement read by the health minister Dr Ruth Aceng spooked the medical professionals into a complete tempory withdrawal of labour. The minister was ordering the doctors to return to work with the industrial action declared illegal.

The country waited to hear the responce of the doctors, and as was to be expected, the responce was anything but good.

The doctors were now more resolute in their actions. UMA put together a legal team. It was clear the battle lines had been drawn. No side was about to relent or soften it’s position.

By this time, the strike was being looked into at the cabinet level with a sub-committee of cabinet appointed to explore was of ending the impasse and get the doctors back to work.

The sub-committee of cabinet tasked with resolving the doctor’s strike met the striking members 15 Nov 2017 in a hall at Statistics house. The deliberations in there weren’t anything promising.

Exchanges between the sub-committee and memebers of the striking doctors characterised the breadth and length of the meeting.

Led by the minister of health Dr Ruth Aceng in the company of her permanent secretary Dr Diana Atwiine, Minister David Bahati, the attorney general, minister of public service, the sub-committee left the meeting having made no significant gains in attempting to resolve the doctors demands.

The doctors had a good case, and nothing was going to stop them from attaining that which they have demanded for over the last decade and now seemed nearer than ever before.

The meeting didn’t resolve anything. It’s only success was the cabinet sub-committee and especially the MoH looking every bit the “unserious” party in this debacle.

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