Covid-19: Minister warns health workers against industrial action

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Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Acheng, addressing Masindi District Covid-19 Task Force at Country Inn in Masindi Town on Wednesday about nurses who laid down their tools over lack of protective gears after one Covid-19 case was confirmed in Masindi. Credit: RDP

Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Acheng, has warned health workers against laying down their tools at this time when the country is battling Covid-19.

Addressing health workers during her visit to Masindi on Wednesday, Ms Acheng said it is unethical for them to engage in a sit down strike leaving patients unattended to and putting their lives at stake.

Her comments follow an industrial action taken by nurses at Masindi General Hospital complaining about lack of Person Protective Equipment (PPEs) to guard them against contracting Covid-19. This is after a police detective attached to Masindi police station tested positive for the virus.

The nurses also complained about the uncontrolled movement of suspected coronavirus patients who had been under quarantine at the hospital’s male ward.

Since then, the hospital authorities have moved them to Masindi Public primary school, according to Mr Patrick Baguma, the District Health Officer.

The minister threatened that any health worker indulging in any industrial action at this time will be apprehended and arraigned before court.

She informed the nurses that inadequate PPEs is a worldwide problem that is being handled.

“It is unethical for health workers to lay down their tools now that the country and entire world is fighting coronavirus. Any health worker doing this, will be arrested and charged in court. We know you are doing a good job, but you should not risk people’s lives. The government wants you and other people alive. With its partners, the government is working towards getting the PPEs which is a global problem,” Ms Acheng said.

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, urged the people of Bunyoro to take precautionary measures against coronavirus since they share a common border with the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which has been ravaged by the virus.

More than 100 police officers and their immediate families have been put under quarantine. Uganda Police Force has deployed news police officers at Masindi police station as government monitors the quarantined ones.

The 29-year-old detective who confirmed positive for coronavirus is currently admitted to Hoima Regional Referral Hospital in a stable condition, according to Ms Acheng.

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