Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday cautioned the medical personnel against striking for pay rise, noting that the country still has urgent issues to address.
Museveni who addressed a public rally commemorating International Labor Day, said when the doctors went on strike last year, government was forced to consider bringing in Cuban doctors.
“When we were under that blackmail, I said I can’t take it, I would rather bring in Cuban doctors to replace these doctors,” Museveni said in a televised address from the central Ugandan district of Sembabule.
He said key issues like infrastructure investment have to be addressed before the salaries of public servants can be raised.
In November last year, the ministry of health mooted the idea to hire 200 Cuban medical personnel during the doctors’ strike following the government failure to respond to their calls for a salary rise and better working conditions in public hospitals.
The three-week nationwide industrial action paralyzed health service provision as doctors and medical interns stayed away from their duty stations.
The government later agreed to increase their pay and also address the concerns raised.
Sarah Opendi, state minister for health in charge of general duties, told Xinhua on April 20 that government is still talking to Cuba about hiring medical personnel who will be deployed in rural hospitals that are shunned by local doctors.
Ekwaro Obuku, the Uganda Medical Association president, told Xinhua on April 24 that it was not necessary to hire Cuban medical personnel since there are enough local doctors.
Obuku, who led last year’s strike, said with an enhanced salary structure and better working conditions, doctors will work in rural hospitals. Enditem