The Uganda Medical Association(UMA), a body that brings together medical doctors in the country, has asked the government to come out with a clear compensation plan for health workers who are dedicated and risking their lives at the front lines in this tough battle against Ebola.
Last week, a Tanzanian doctor who has been pursuing a Master of Medicine in Surgery course at Kampala International University succumbed to Ebola and doctors said there should be a clear plan on how the families of a doctor who faces similar circumstance will be assisted.
Speaking to the Lens Media shortly after a news conference on Sunday in Kampala, Samuel Oledo Odongo, the President of UMA said right now the country is heading into another deadly disease with high mortality and yet a compensation plan is not yet drawn for those in the battlefield.
“You remember we lost over 64 health workers during Covid-19; they were never compensated and as we talk now there is no compensation plan set up yet by the Ministry of Health to guide the Ministry of Gender and Ministry of finance into allocation of these resources for the families, “he said.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on the remuneration and incentives for health workers managing epidemics and pandemics, regular and timely health worker salary payments must be maintained.
Oledo said remuneration should be commensurate with the duties performed, with the working hours and other factors, such as additional professional hazards, noting that additional allowances are required to compensate for risks and to minimize attrition.
“Lack of adequate and timely payment of health workers has been a primary cause of strikes that severely affect the capacity of the healthcare system to respond to outbreaks and maintain the provision of essential health services, “he said.
According to the Workman’s compensation Act 2000, an employee who gets permanent incapacitation or death in line of duty, their families should receive an amount of money equivalent to the current salary the employee has been receiving multiplied by sixty.
He threatened that doctors might lay down tools, accusing the government of failing to meet basic commitments to improve their safety.
He asked all universities with training schools in Mubende to recall all their students, saying the environment is unsafe.
Six health workers are currently fighting for their lives in the Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital Isolation Unit.