By FRANKLIN DRAKU
Government has finally agreed to address the plight of nurses and midwives after they presented a list of their demands which they said must be fulfilled.
The nurses and midwives had accused the ministry of health of neglecting them during the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and demanded that their concerns be addressed.
The demands included among other; appointment of nurses and midwives to the various COVID-19 subcommittees, increased access to adequate PPE for Nurses, Midwives and other frontline health workers, and adequate training on management of COVID-19 suspected or confirmed cases, appropriate use of COVID-19 specific PPEs; mitigation, preparedness and response to a pandemic.
Other demands are; provision of logistics and resources including transportation, psychosocial support and accommodation, appropriate compensation for healthcare works involved in COVID-19 patient care as well as considerations for the welfare of their families, increase in testing for frontline health workers for COVID-19 and appreciation to the nurses and midwives’ continued contribution to health for all.
Dr Safinah Museene, the commissioner for Business Technical and Vocation Education Training at the ministry of education, and leader of Uganda Nurses and Midwives’ Leaders’ Think Tank, said they have held meetings with the permanent secretary of ministry of health, Dr Diana Atwine, who told them that the ministry has listened to their demands and are working on them.
“They have already started working on some of the demands. Some of the allowances are being processed, like food is being supplied to those who are working on frontline and transport has been provided. Buses are collecting those without vehicles and those with personal vehicles some of them were given stickers to allow them reach hospitals in time,” she said.
She said the personal protective gears are being issued to the nurses and midwives who are on frontline for their safety.
Other issues the ministry is working on are; the training of nurses and midwives on Covid-19 case management, inclusion of nurses and midwives in research teams and their representation on various taskforce sub committees.
“So far we have one on the critical care committee, then we have another one on infection prevention and control committee and we are yet to identify others on the other different committees,” Dr Museene said.
Ms Robinah Nabbanja, the minister of state in charge of general duties at the health ministry confirmed the interventions and said the ministry is already working on them.
“The fact is when we started this lockdown, some health staff had difficulty in reaching their work places, because some of them lacked stickers, then those who did not have personal cars, parliament lent us buses. All the buses of parliament are here with us at the ministry of health for all the hospitals around Kampala and I believe that will solve the problem. Then we arranged more stickers and gave to the directors of the hospitals to give to those who have cars who had missed the first time,” Ms Nabbanja said.
She also said the risk allowance is being worked on and that by the end of this week, those entitled will receive their money in their respective bank accounts.
“The problem we had was that hospitals thought money was for everybody including those who are not handling Covid-19 patients. Then the ministry wrote back to them and asked for only those who are handling Covid-19 patients because the money would not be enough or those who had struggled to handle Covid-19 would get peanut. So they produced another list which the ministry has worked on and I believe this week they will receive their money,” she said on Saturday.
She said the ministry takes the nurses and midwives as very important staff in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and will always ensure that their welfare is catered for.
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