Government should consider providing vehicles to all doctors in the country not only to ease their movements, but also motivate them, the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council has proposed medical practitioners has proposed.
Joel Okullo, Chairman of the Medical Council made the call yesterday while appearing before Parliament’s National Economy, where the Council had come to discuss the impact of coronavirus on the health sector.
Okullo said although the former President, Idi Amin regime has been demonized, there is need for the NRM Government to emulate some of its strengths and provide cars to the medical doctors.
“We propose that vehicles must be made available to health workers by provision of duty free purchase. While this will improve mobility, it will also act as an incentive to health workers,” Okullo said.
In their submission, the Medical Council revealed that the private health care providers were badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic because these were solely dependent on the fees paid by the clients, and the pandemic saw the number of patients reduce and the revenues collected drastically fall.
“We still face challenges accessing drugs, medical supplies and reagents. Prices of most items needed in the prevention of the COVID-19 especially sanitizers, masks and some drugs were abnormally hiked,” Okullo said.
“Private healthcare providers have to inevitably transfer the extra costs to the already jobless patients or work at a loss. We have suffered stock outs on reagents because of unpredictable arrival of such imports,” he added.
The Medical Council also proposed to have an isolation unit away from the main hospital so as not to interrupt services for other ailments.
Okullo also warned Government against rushing into reopening of schools.
“If you look at it, how many students in your village sit in a class? You are talking about social distancing, is it possible? Is it something we can do? Do critical analysis and see if this is workable. I know some countries, they opened schools and week back, they had to close. There are big challenges, let the issue of reopening schools be serious. This is the time we need to look at infrastructure in our schools,” he said.
Syda Bbumba (Nakaseke North) expressed concern over patients seeking for physiotherapy and dental services, which have been put on hold due to social distancing requirements, asking if coronavirus means such services could never be accessed by patients.
Ntwantwa Lule, a member of the Medical Council told MPs that the dentists had to weigh the choice of exposing staff to coronavirus or stop work that we may have services the following year and blamed this on absence Personal Protective Equipment for medical practitioners.