Google+ Followers

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The true colors of America’s Neo-liberal Tyrants: I hear some people saying that I am their servant; I am not a servant of anybody. I am fighting for myself, for my beliefs; that’s how I come in. If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself…”: Museveni’s Government threatens to sack striking medics




“…I hear some people saying that I am their servant; I am not a servant of anybody. I am a freedom fighter; that is why I do what I do. I don’t do it because I am your servant; I am not your servant. I am just a freedom fighter; I am fighting for myself, for my beliefs; that’s how I come in. If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself…”

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.(Matthew 23:11)
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.(Matthew 23:11)
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.(Matthew 23:11)

 

When health is not a human right in Neo-liberal Uganda : Uganda Doctors go on strike leaving patients stranded : When a senior Ugandan consultant doctor earns about Shs 3.4 million, consultant Shs 2.6 million, and a medical officer Shs 1.1 million as a Member of Parliament earns over 24 million
 

Cost of sacking 1,000 doctors

 
Written by ALON MWESIGWA, BAKER BATTE LULE & ZURAH NAKABUGO
 
 
Government says it has one option now: sack the striking health workers and hire new ones. But that option is not that easy or cheap either.
An analysis by The Observer shows it would be the expensive option that would cause irreparable damage to an already seriously sick sector given what knowledgeable observers say. President Museveni said last week that he was ready to hire new health workers if those on strike don’t go back to work.
The president did not say from where though, and even his promised army replacement doctors are yet to report for duty at public hospitals. There are about 1,000 health workers on strike under the auspices of the Uganda Medical Association. Ivan Engoru, a labour law don at Makerere University, said withdrawing labour has got both international and national dimensions.
“In the international dimension, we are talking about the legal framework with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which sets standards for labour-related matters. Then locally, we have the Constitution that has provisions that deal with economic rights, the Employment Act and the Labour Union Act,” Engoru said.
“But engagement in labour is generally treated as a private matter that two parties can agree; that one is providing labour and the other hiring pays for the labour. That, in effect, gives the person who is giving the labour the right to withdraw it,” he added.
This is exactly what the doctors did. Government must either meet their demands or decide that it no longer needs them and, therefore, hires other professionals. Is it a feasible idea? It comes at a huge cost – bigger than meeting the current demands.
First, according to a doctor familiar with the sector, Uganda’s health sector is already short of the health workers needed for it to function well.
Uganda’s doctor-to-patient ratio is estimated at 1:25,725, with a nurse to patient ratio of 1:11,000. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends one physician per 1,000 people. Uganda needs to hire more doctors instead of firing the few in place.
“A patient comes to a hospital and there is just one health worker. He/she has to attend to the children, the expectant mothers. That’s the reality. That’s how our public hospitals run,” a health worker told us.
Another cost is in terms of experience that would be lost if these health workers are let go. Uganda Medical Association (UMA) accounts for most of the senior professionals Uganda has. For instance, the association has 712 of the 1,300 doctors in public service. At least 152 of them are senior consultants, with another 171 being senior house officers.
“We analyzed the deficit of doctors and found that about 50 per cent of the established posts aren’t filled in our [public] hospitals. There is still room to recruit another 1,000 doctors to deploy in hospitals like Kabale Regional hospital which has six doctors out of the recommended 20,” one doctor told The Observer.
The second cost would be lost trust in government on health workers’ job security.
“If you fired my predecessor for demanding better working conditions, how sure am I that you will not humiliate me with ease?” another doctor said.
There is also a cost to the taxpayers. Uganda currently spends at least Shs 70 million to train a doctor. Firing at least 1,000 and denying Ugandans an opportunity of getting services from them means the country will lose at least Shs 70 billion in the money that was spent to train them, according to one analyst.
When let go, more doctors will seek greener pastures in the neighbouring countries where they are on high demand. Another loss could stem from potential mass class action lawsuits filed against the government for wrongful dismissal.
Museveni once sacked health workers of Nakawuka Health Centre but were reinstated because he had no powers to relieve them of their duties
Another health worker said: “We have consulted our lawyers and they advised us that industrial action is justified if the safety of the worker is at risk. Doctors were exposed to various occupational risks hence triggering the strike. Summary dismissal from employment during a strike is contrary to the law hence it is likely attract litigation.”
Engoru said ILO rules give workers rights to association and the right to collective bargaining. In the same instrument, is embedded obligations on the part of an ILO member state not to victimize or discriminate against any employees on the basis of their participation in an industrial action.
Then there is the extremely high human cost. A lot of ordinary people are losing their lives from treatable diseases because there are either no health workers or essential supplies in hospitals. From Kiruddu to Jinja to Masaka, there have been people claiming their loved ones died after they found no one to take care of them at the hospitals.

MORE WITHDRAWALS
When The Observer visited several hospitals on Saturday, skeleton staff attending to emergency cases said they were also withdrawing their labour to let the army do the work. Museveni said last week that he would deploy the army, police, and prisons doctors to work in public hospitals.
But these institutions can only deploy less than 50 medical doctors, a hopelessly inadequate number. At Kawempe General Referral Hospital and Naguru’s China-Uganda Friendship hospital, by Saturday, there were no army doctors or nurses in sight.
Kawempe offers vital gynaecology and obstetrics services and treatment of cervical cancer. On average, the hospital receives 100 patients daily, mainly mothers who come to give birth.
Hadijah Namugala, a patient who was found outside the postnatal ward, had waited for a security guard for over two hours to stamp her discharge letter. She said medical workers discharged her and told her that they were stopping to work on Saturday to allow the army take over.
“But I haven’t seen any army doctor or nurse around the ward since I was admitted here on Sunday (Nov 12) to give birth. I was referred from Kasangati Health Centre because my high blood pressure was not stabilizing and I needed specialised doctors to help me deliver,” she said.
“Of course when I reached, they kept me waiting and didn’t work on me that day. The following day when I gave the nurses Shs 100,000, they took me to the theatre and I was operated very fast. I gave birth to a baby boy,” she said.  
Namugala, like many Ugandans, said she had been buying drugs from the pharmacies outside the hospital and also paid nurses Shs 10,000 to administer the drugs until she was discharged on Saturday.
“Even removing the catheter, which is the bag that collects urine after operation, you pay Shs 5,000 to nurses. If you don’t, you remain with it. So, government should help us address the doctor’s problems because people are going to die,” she said.
The doctors and nurses who didn’t want to disclose their names at Kawempe General hospital said they are all going to lay down their tools by Sunday to let army doctors and nurses to take over since government failed to address their problems.
Dr Ekwaro Obuku, the UMA president that spearheading the strike, said government should not bury its head in the sand.
“There should be efforts to sidestep legalese and instead look at the legitimate issues that are being raised,” he said.
“Government, for example, has an issue when it says it has no money. I think also having a comprehensive review of the salaries of all public servants is a good thing so that you don’t sort this group then the other comes up. But in the interim, there must also be identification of critical issues raised by the doctors so that they are worked on and the rest await the outcome of the committee on salary review.”
Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, told The Observer on Saturday: “I have nothing else to discuss on the subject just wait for a communication from the prime minister.”




Doctors cannot be sacked like nut fixers 

http://observer.ug/viewpoint/56044-doctors-cannot-be-sacked-like-nut-fixers.html 

 
Written by Pius Muteekani Katunzi
 
 
 
 
President Museveni is a very condescending man. At times, he treats citizens like a herd of cattle receiving whistling commands to move to where the master desires.
He brooks no opposition, especially from those he considers younger than him. He believes he never makes mistakes; it’s the people below him that flounder.
In 2006, while addressing Movement supporters who had turned up at Kololo ceremonial grounds to celebrate 20 years of Uganda’s liberation by National Resistance Army (NRA), Museveni seemed surprised that NRM had been infiltrated by corrupt people.
He promised to fight corruption head-on using guerilla tactics. We are still waiting for those tactics. Corruption is one of the reasons doctors are striking today.
Still in 2006, I had an exclusive interview with Museveni and asked him whether – as a person and president for 20 years – he had made some mistakes. In his characteristic way of rolling his eyes and beaming up his face, the president told me that it was only NRM which had made mistakes, and it was only him who corrected them!
He is never devastated because he is visionary and revolutionary. Revolutionaries are not amenable to such romanticism.
It is important also to remember that even if the president has gone through several elections during which he asked the citizen to trust him with the votes in order to serve them better, he declared early this year in Masindi that he is not anyone’s servant.
“…I hear some people saying that I am their servant; I am not a servant of anybody. I am a freedom fighter; that is why I do what I do. I don’t do it because I am your servant; I am not your servant. I am just a freedom fighter; I am fighting for myself, for my beliefs; that’s how I come in. If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself…”
That is how Museveni holds himself!
So, the striking doctors should remember that the visionary is not their servant and he will deal with them as he wishes.
He has already threatened to fire them and replace them with those willing to work for the abysmal pay and dreadful working conditions.
Ironically, the president claims he went to the bush to fight for better working conditions of all Ugandans. The working conditions were not good for politicians because the ground was not level; there was no forum to express dissatisfaction with the government’s delivery of service.  
The president is not used to being in a poor bargaining position; in fact, he never bargains: he commands, orders and arbitrarily decides for whoever comes for a bargain.
But the president should not take the doctors’ strike as an affront on his person. He should take it in good stead, drop his arrogance and listen to them.
The doctors are not asking him to divert his personal fortune to improve working conditions in public hospitals and health centres. They are only saying that the country’s resources could be organized in such a way that their pay and working conditions are improved.
Remember, Mr President, that during the presidential campaigns, you presented yourself as the best top servant of this country. You are not expected to take offence when Ugandans mount pressure on you to deliver those promises.
You are not expected to take umbrage when Ugandans remind you to organise the country according to the law and Constitution. Even if you deny being our employee, the fact that you contested for the top job in the country and won it makes you our servant.
Through the taxes, Ugandans have improved your working conditions. You are better housed. You earn a tax-free salary.
You are the only person who cannot be sued or prosecuted in the competent court of criminal or administrative jurisdiction while serving as president.
You are the only Ugandan with a fully maintained jet at your disposal. You are the only Ugandan with authority to assent to any piece of law. You are the only Ugandan entrusted with security of this country.
We cannot all defend ourselves against internal and external enemies, but that duty was bestowed on you. You are the most protected person in the country. And all this is borne by the taxpayers to ensure that you have no excuse whatsoever for not doing your work.
If Uganda were a limited liability company, as the chief executive, you would be expected to account to shareholders annually and prove to them that you still merit that job. Well, Ugandans can only ask you to account after every five years.
Whereas, Mr President, you have powers to sack the striking doctors through your other agents, this should be handled with caution.
You ought to remember that a doctor’s job is not like that of a nut fixer, who only needs a screwdriver and spanners to turn the nuts. Just like in the army, one cannot rely on mercenaries to achieve a country’s strategic security concerns.
So, don’t think of deploying mercenary doctors. They can’t be relied upon. Kindly listen to the doctors and save the country and yourself from embarrassment.