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Uganda Medical Association Wants Health Workers to Lay Down Tools over Lack of PPE

According to the doctor's umbrella organisation, health workers should not endanger their lives by working without PPE. They say government should provide equipment for health workers
02 Jun 2020 15:45
According to UMA,doctors should go to work if they are not provided PPE

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Doctors under the Uganda Medical Association wants medical workers to lay down their tools if they are not provided with Personal Protective Equipment- PPE. 

The doctors made the call on Tuesday at a press meeting.

According to the association, the body has recorded several cases where health workers have not been provided with PPEs. Last week, 22 pregnant women who were due for caesarean section were not operated because health workers lacked masks, gloves and sanitizer.

Reports from the Soroti medical association branch shows that interns were forced to carry out operations on mothers without masks.

In addition to this, seven health workers were infected with COVID-19 over the weekend.

Dr Mukuzi Muhereza, the general secretary UMA says that the body is prepared to support all doctors who decide not to show up to work. He says the availability of PPE is dependent on where you work. He says health workers in urban settings have more PPE compared to their colleagues in rural settings.

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In the past, the government has threatened to dismiss health workers who lay down their tools.

This time around, UMA has partnered with the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) to provide a free legal presentation for any health worker that might need it.

Ibrahim Nsereko, the programme manager of Litigation at CEHURD says they are ready to represent every health worker who needs representation.

“It's worrying when caretakers of the sick start falling sick because they did not have PPE. More protection is needed for health workers. For those who want to address their grievances in court, we are willing and ready to give a free legal presentation to any health worker who needs presentation. Come and tell us your problems and we shall step in," Nsereko said.

Nsereko also wants the seven health workers who were infected with COVID-19 to be compensated since the government failed in its duty to protect the health workers.

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There are global shortages in PPE stocks. According to the health ministry, Uganda only has 10 percent of its required PPE. While the country orders for more PPE and even start production, there have been reports that misuse of PPE is high.

Last month, the permanent secretary Dr Diana Atwine accused some health workers of wasting PPE.

"There is a global PPE shortage but if you go to some health centres, you will find waste. Right now we are training health workers to use the little PPE that they have sparingly. But we have made orders to fill the gaps," Dr Atwine said.