Health Tutors and clinical instructors under their umbrella body Medical Educationists’ Association of Uganda (MEA) have gone on strike over salaries.
In a notice dated September 29, Mea chairman Aeron Namaasa informed Education and Sports Ministry Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza that the strike would go on until their instructors’ issues have been resolved.
The strike has begun less than a week to the reopening of health institutions.
Medical students have been hoping to return to school on October 05.
Schools had been closed on March 20 as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid19 in mass concentration places.
Affected schools include about 18 government-owned nursing and allied health training institutions that teach enrolled nurses, registered nurses, midwives, and non-graduate laboratory technicians.
Some of them are: Mulago School of Nursing, Masaka School of Comprehensive Nursing, Soroti School of Comprehensive Nursing, Jinja School of Nursing, Hoima School of Nursing, Arua School of Nursing, Lira School of Nursing, Masaka School of Comprehensive Nursing, and Jinja School of Pediatrics.
Others are: Butabika School of Clinical Officers, Butabika School of Nursing, Kaabong School of Nursing, Mulago Paramedical School, Fort Portal School of Clinical Officers, Gulu School of Clinical Officers, Mbale School of Hygiene and Jinja Medical laboratory Training school.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
On September 10, Mea wrote to the three ministries of Education and Sports, Health and Public Service informing them of the urgent need for the harmonization of salaries with colleagues in the medical field.
They had also asked the three ministries to act on nter-ministerial committee reports for February and July 2019 that had recommendations on remuneration of tutors and instructors.
According to Namaasa, it is unfair for a tutor in a health institution to keep earning salary equivalent to that of a secondary school teacher yet the training for both is different.
For one to qualify as a tutor, one has to first qualify as Senior Nursing, Allied Health or Medical Officers.
After that, s/he is trained further in order to gain pedagogical skills.
Additionally, tutors are required to register both with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and that of Education and Sports.
Yet their salaries remain below the level of colleagues recognized as being in the medical field.