Kitgum Government Hospital has decided to withdraw soldiers deployed to fill the gap left by striking members of the Allied Health Professionals.
The medical workers including clinical officers, laboratory staff, records officers, sonographers, radiographers, anesthetists, dental technicians, clinical psychiatrists, and vector controllers laid down their tools on Monday 16th, 2022 to compel the government to give them a pay rise.
To fill the gap, health officials in Kitgum including the Kitgum District Health Officer and Medical Superintendent stepped in to serve patients as the Hospital struggled with increasing emergencies since the striking workers form the majority of the workforce.
On Tuesday this week, the hospital management decided to deploy soldiers to the laboratory to fill the staffing gap resulting from the ongoing industrial action by the Allied Health Professionals
Titus Komakech, a clinical officer who also doubles as the chairperson of Allied Health Workers in Kitgum district, says that the deployment of the soldiers forced them to withdraw even the skeletal workers they had left to serve the patients, citing intimidation and discomfort to work with the soldiers.
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On Wednesday evening, the striking medical workers met Kitgum Deputy RDC and DISO and the senior hospital management behind closed doors to discuss their grievances. Komakech notes that following the meeting they agreed to resume work Thursday after the withdrawal of the soldiers from the laboratory.
He explains that the striking workers completely withdrew their emergency services because it was a national resolution that no support be given to the few staff they had left to offer emergency services.
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Hajj Marijan Walire, the Kitgum Deputy Resident District Commissioner told Uganda Radio Network on Thursday that the Medical Superintendent brought staff from outside because of the staffing gap, which caused more tension among the striking workers and the senior hospital management.
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Hajj Walire says during the meeting on Wednesday evening they discovered that there was a misunderstanding between the protesting workers and the senior hospital management, and they encouraged them to have regular meetings and improve on their communication and coordination to sort out some grievances.