Medical personnel within the Uganda Police Force have been instructed to work with the army doctors and provide health services to patients in government facilities following a nationwide strike by regular doctors.
Last week, the army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said the army had deployed up to ten military doctors in hospitals in Kampala so as to provide services to the people as the doctors strike continues to take toll.
Police spokesperson SSP Emilian Kayima on Sunday revealed that Gen Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police, had directed the police force, too, to join their army compatriots to ensure provision of health services to the people.
“The Inspector General of Police, Gen.Kale Kayihura on Friday gave directives to the director police health services to support the Health ministry and the directive has been complied with immediately,” SSP Kayima said.
Kayima explained that police has a number of health facilities around the country which also serve the civilian population.
According to the new police mouthpiece, seven of their facilities are in Arua,Naguru, Mbale, Gulu, Tororo,Rukungiri and Hoima.
When asked on the issue of provision of medical personnel to government hospitals and health facilities that may not necessarily be under the police force, Kayima said they are working out the modalities of doing it.
“It is all on a needs by needs assessment in these areas where we are and we closely work with the ministry of health officials,” the police spokesperson told the Nile Post.
Asked about the number of medical personnel they would provide in each region, Kayima said it is a detail the police director in charge of health services Dr.Moses Byaruhanga would provide.
“It is our appeal to the members of the public across the country to make use of these facilities which are totally free of charge, “Kayima urged.
The Uganda Prisons services spokesperson, Frank Baine, last week revealed that they too were ready to join other forces to provide medical services in government facilities.
The move by government to make use of the services of personnel from security forces raises a number of questions including whether they have sufficient medical personnel to attend to all patients in government facilities and whether they have a wide range of specialist doctors to attend to various ailements.
The Uganda Medical Association president Dr.Ekwaro Obuku recently revealed that there are over 1300 doctors and nurses in government health facilities and almost all of them had gone on strike.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda (PSU), an umbrella body for pharmacists last week also warned government that deployment of medical workers from the forces would not solve anything because they are not enough to handle the situation.
“How many medics does the army or police have? Even if they deploy them, they cannot close the gap that was left by the striking medical workers. Some of the striking specialized doctors who are currently on strike are only two in the entire country and there is nowhere government will get others,” Edson Ireeta, a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda told the Nile Post last week.
Doctors have been on strike for the last two weeks protesting poor pay and working conditions.