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Allied Health Workers Strike Takes Toll on Interns at Masaka Hospital

Edward Kabuye, the Principal Administrator of Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, says that the strike has greatly affected their operations and the efficiency with which they respond to patients. He has appealed to the government to engage and reach a compromise with the striking health workers such that they can return to their duty stations and save the situation.

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The ongoing strike by Allied Health Workers is taking a heavy toll on service delivery at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, the administrators have revealed. Apparently, the Regional Referral Hospital is relying on medical interns to attend to thousands of patients seeking health services since last week when the Allied Health Professionals went on strike.

On Monday last week, the low-ranking level health professionals including dental practitioners, clinical officers, radiographers, medical records officers, theater practitioners, and counselors among others laid down their tools to compel the government to give them a pay rise just like the other scientists and their senior colleagues under Uganda Medical Association, Nurses and Midwives Union.

Now, Edward Kabuye, the Principal Administrator of Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, says that the strike has greatly affected their operations and the efficiency with which they respond to patients.  He has appealed to the government to engage and reach a compromise with the striking health workers such that they can return to their duty stations and save the situation. 

According to Kabuye, the hospital workforce has been reduced by 50 staff that fall into the category of the health workers who are currently on strike hence leaving a big gap. He explains that although they called in support from the medical interns and other nursing trainees, they can hardly match up to the capacities of the striking staff. 

//Cue in: okugeza baling….  

Cue out;….emirimo gyabwe,”//  

Besides the medical interns and nursing students who are already overwhelmed by the workload, Kabuye is also afraid if not resolved in a short while; the strike may take a heavy toll on their senior medical staff including Doctors and Consultants who are currently overworking to fill the gap.  

According to the hospital register, Masaka Regional Referral Hospital Outpatient wards record at least 2,000 patients and conduct 40 deliveries on a daily basis.  Margret Nabukeera, one of the patient attendants in the Emergency Department, says that the ongoing industrial action has presented serious consequences to health service delivery.

She explains that her patient was referred from Butenga Health IV in Bukomansimbi district to Masaka hospital last Thursday over acute pneumonia, but to their disappointment, the patient is not regularly monitored as they would wish. 

“This strike is now life-threatening to patients because the health workers are very few. We are now running after the few staff, begging them to assess the patients,” she says. Nabukeera has also appealed to the government to urgently engage the health workers such that they can end the strike because of its grave consequences.  

Patrick Denis Alibu, the Chairperson of the Uganda Allied Health Professionals Association, says that they are engaging with the government on the way forward after they made their concerns known to the relevant authorities.  

Notably, the country has in the recent past witnessed a wave of strikes by its employees who are demanding salary increments. The latest was by science teachers in Secondary school who accused the Ministries of Finance and Public Service of not honoring President Museveni’s directive to enhance their salaries.  

They laid down their tools for 14 days      

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