The government has unveiled a plan to increase the salaries for doctors, with the proposed adjustments ranging from as low as Shs1m to a three-fold high, depending on the qualification and responsibility of the professional.
The new rates are to be effected over three years from next financial year, State Public Service minister, Grace Mary Mugasa, said yesterday.
The Daily Monitor reports that the biggest winner, according to the structure presented to Parliament yesterday by Ministry of Public Service, is the director general of Health Services, whose Shs9m monthly salary is set to increase to Shs23.5m, putting the job holder at par in remuneration with permanent secretaries.
Dr Henry Mwebesa is the current director general of Health Services and last week ordered striking intern doctors to vacate hospital accommodations within a week, arguing that, as trainees under supervision, their strike is unjustified since they are not entitled to pay.
The order has attracted threat from health rights group, Cehurd, which has written to Dr Mwebesa, announcing its intention to sue him in individual capacity for alleged violation of labour and other laws, unless he rescinds his instruction.
According to the proposals, some of which appeared to recycle unfulfilled previous promises, the lowest medical officer will earn Shs5m by 2024/25 Financial Year.
The new proposal comes at a time medical workers and intern doctors have gone on industrial action over poor pay and working conditions.
While meeting the Members of Parliament on the Committee on Government Assurances, State Public Service minister, Ms Mugasa, said Cabinet approved the phased increase of health workers’ pay in the 2017/18 Financial Year.
According to the approved structure, an entry level medical officer, dental surgeon, and pharmacists will receive Shs5 million, while other entry level scientists will receive Shs4 million.
Director generals of national referral hospitals, which include Mulago and Butabika, will earn Shs23 million.
The director generals of Health Services and the national referral hospitals presently get Shs9m and Shs8m, respectively.
The director of the National Specialised Hospital is budgeted to be paid Shs22m per month while an executive director of a regional referral will walk away with Shs21 million and senior consultant and consultant will each earn Shs20m and Shs18.5m, respectively.
Director (medical) will earn Shs19.5m, and Commissioner of Health will carry home a pay cheque of Shs18.5m.
A district health officer, who is at the rank of assistant health commissioner, will earn Shs7.62m and the assistant will get Shs6m.
A medical officer of a special grade is set to get Shs7.4m, a senior medical officer, dental surgeon and pharmacist will earn Shs5.5m and medical officer, dental surgeon and pharmacist will earn Shs5m. These reflect a change of between Shs1 to Shs2.5m on the earnings of the different health professionals.
The revised pays will kick the 2022/23 Financial Year with a 40 percent upward adjustment and additional 30 percent pay increases are planned for the subsequent two financial years.
Minister Mugasa yesterday said a number of meetings had been held between President Museveni and Uganda Medical Association, the national umbrella association of Ugandan doctors, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and other government ministries and departments.
She said a number of issues were discussed and communicated to different groups including availability of funds for medical supplies, and list of those who succumbed to Covid-19.
“Enhancement of pay for scientists including health workers has been planned for July 2022. The revised pay plan will be implemented within three years…,” she said.
Money, she said, had also been budgeted to recruit new district health officers and their assistants as well as medical officers for health centre IIIs within the next three years.
“The Health Service Commission has embarked on the recruitment process of doctors and other critical health workers in regional and national referral hospitals for position declared last financial year. In addition, clearance has been issued to several local governments for recruitment of critical health workers,” she said.