Medical workers under their umbrella body the Uganda Medical Workers Union (UMWU) have castigated the government for taking a lot of time in procuring the required amount of vaccine doses for the population.
Their concerns come at a time when the National Medical Stores(NMS) declared that they are stuck with Shs 8 billion for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines and are waiting for guidance from the cabinet.
The ministry of health indicated that NMS should have used its drug distribution infrastructure and network to supply the equipment.
However, NMS officials told a select committee of parliament last week that any distribution of such supplies requires written authorisation by the ministry of Health.
The disagreement over the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) comes as the number of doctors who succumb in the line of duty continues to rise.
The Ministry of Finance ,Planning and Economic Development indicated on July 2 that the ministry of Health had returned money to the treasury after failing to utilize it.
Speaking to the media in Kampala, Dr Aggrey Sanya, the general secretary of Uganda Medical Workers Union said that Uganda should copy from Kenya and other neighbouring countries to improve the welfare of its health workers.
“We now have no hope because oxygen is finished, PPEs are not there, and we are demanding that the government put in place systems to manage health workers who fall sick. Without PPEs, health workers can’t provide quality routine health service because they live in fear of contracting the disease,” he said.
Sanya noted that the country has blundered by continuously ignoring the national health insurance scheme as this could have helped cover the expenses for health workers.
“We request the government to put its effort in immunising Ugandans, let have enough vaccines in Uganda.Parliament passed money to buy vaccines which was not brought .why do keep money as people continue to die?”he queried.
He noted that the breakdown in communication may have hampered the distribution of the vital Personal Protective Equipment to health facilities handling Covid-19 despite the Parliament announcing the availability of the funds.
Usher Owere, the general secretary of the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) recommended having a special treatment centre for health workers that need critical care.
“We also ask the government to create a special place for these medical workers once they fall sick, they don’t put you where you have been treating people and they have been seeing people dying. Covid-19 is here to stay. it’s not going, we must learn how to live with it,” he said.