- December 16, 2021
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Parliament to debate motion on striking medical workers
The strike by medical interns continues to attract debate in Parliament and this time round, Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, has granted Hon. Timothy Batuwa (FDC, Jinja South Division West) permission to present a motion to discuss the matter.
Medical interns in government hospitals and health centers countrywide took industrial action six weeks ago, demanding a raise in salary and health insurance. They further raised concern over lack of medical supplies.
While presenting a procedural matter during plenary sitting on Wednesday, 15 December 2021, Hon. Batuwa said the issue of intern doctors had worsened, with over 30 doctors getting arrested as they attempted to access Parliament.
“The intern doctors have been asked to vacate their offices, as directed by the Minister of Health as of 10 December 2021. Is Parliament finding it needful to intervene on the letter that has been released that seeks to fire intern doctors?” asked Batuwa.
His prayer was to move a motion without notice under Rule 59 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure, which allows MPs to consider a motion without notification.
“I ask your indulgence that this House considers a motion and we discuss the issue of interns exhaustively before we break off for recess,” he said.
Oulanyah however said the matter of doctors is critical and requires a formal motion, which will guide debate.
“Many of us have things to say about what is going on. When we pass budgets, all these things have to be taken care of. So, I take that as notice. Prepare a motion and if the motion can solve the problem, we will have a debate tomorrow [Thursday],” he said.
Meanwhile, Patients are stranded at Mulago National Referral Hospital after a nurse at the Sickle Unit Thursday sent them away because doctors did not show up due to the ongoing industrial action.
According to Daily Monitor, a nurse at the Sickle Cell Unit at Mulago National Referral Hospital who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity due to protocol restrictions, this is because of the doctors who were arrested by Police Yesterday during a peaceful demonstration.
“Many doctors have not been coming but it became worse yesterday when police arrested doctors. We had one doctor who worked the whole of last week alone but today he didn’t come. I tried to call him but his number is off. We only have one doctor who is handling those who are severely sick. We are asking those who are not very sick to come back next year,” she said.