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Union Threatens Protests As Politicians Torture Nurses

The President of the Union Cherop Justus Kiplangat told URN in an interview that politicians have been using their influence especially in the upcountry health facilities to bypass patient queues and demand prescribed medicines. Once the nurses ask them to follow the right processes of accessing care, they end up being assaulted.

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The Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) has received 18 cases of nurses being harassed by politicians since March when the government instituted a lockdown to halt further spread of COVID-19.

The President of the Union Cherop Justus Kiplangat told URN in an interview that politicians have been using their influence especially in the upcountry health facilities to bypass patient queues and demand prescribed medicines. Once the nurses ask them to follow the right processes of accessing care, they end up being assaulted.

He said the most recent incidents have happened in Kamuli and Pader districts.  Without divulging details of the politicians and health workers involved, Kiplangat warned if this continues they will drag those involved to courts of law or lay down their tools.

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The nurses have reported that once they refuse to abide by the politician's demands, they end up being transferred to other facilities.

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However, this appears to be a new twist in the kind of challenges that the health workers face as previously most complaints filed by nurses have been rotating around bosses at the health facilities and members of the community assaulting them. Kiplangat says, last year, they recorded instances of nurses especially those on night duty being attacked by robbers.

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