Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) officials in Jinja District have given authorities three days to provide them with protective gear or else they lay down their tools.
President Museveni, in his recently televised address to the nation, made it mandatory for everyone leaving their homes to don a face mask as a way of combating the spread of Covid-19 in Uganda.
Mr Stephen Amukun, the UNMU Jinja Branch Chairperson, on Monday said their decision comes after the National Medical Stores (NMS) last week supplied drugs for two cycles and left out face masks.
“Nurses at health centres haven’t received a single mask yet President Museveni said putting on masks is mandatory to everyone and we are no exception,” he said.
In his May 11 letter to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), a copy of which was seen by this reporter, Mr Amukun points out lack of goggles for midwives conducting delivery, inadequate gloves and inadequate transport as some of the challenges faced by the health workers during this period.
“The resolution of the nurses and midwives for the above stated challenges, especially the masks and goggles for midwives, is to continue working for the next 72 hours, failure of which will result into laying down of tools,” the letter reads in part.
Mr Amukun adds that he’s only exercising article 7(d) of the UNMU Constitution (2018) which gives him mandate to defend the jobs of all its members, protect their rights to work in a safe and healthy working environment.
“Were not fighting anybody but this is our right to claim what we consider ours. If we were going to strike because we want money or salary, that would be another issue; but we are very specific our matter is about protection, that is ideal,” he explained.
The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, has widely explained that the issues of all health workers, including working equipment and salaries, will be handled.