By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Government has finally agreed to address the plight of nurses and midwives by increasing their lunch allowances starting next month.
Nurses and midwives under their umbrella body Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) have since 2019 been threatening to go on strike over lunch allowances estimated to be Shs70 billion that had not been included in the budget.
The money was promised by President Museveni during celebrations to mark the International Nurses day on May,12,2018 and this would see their lunch allowances increased from shs2000 to shs15000.
The money had however not been included in the budget prompting the nurses to threaten to go on strike on several occasions.
However, according to a July, 28, 2021 circular by the Ministry of Public Service Permanent Secretary, Catherine Bitarakwate, the revised lunch allowances for nurses and midwives have been included in the budget starting this month.
“In accordance with section E-a(3) of the Uganda Public Standing Orders , 2010, the service is informed that lunch allowances for health workers has been revised from shs3000 to shs 15000 and shs2000 to shs10,000 for health workers in U7- U1 and U8 respectively,” Bitarakwate says.
According to the Ministry of Public Service, whereas the increment starts at the end of this month(July), it will be implemented starting August, 2021 but the areas for the month of July will also be paid to health workers.
Consequently, the responsible officers are asked to comply with provisions of the Public Service standing orders.
“Responsible officers are further advised to verify payrolls and pay only those health workers eligible to receive the lunch allowances as guided by the Ministry of Health.”
The move is a sigh of relief to government in regards to routine threats from nurses and midwives over impending strikes over the lunch allowances.
The latest threats happened in May when the nurses and midwives through their umbrella body, UNMU wanted to lay down tools until government fulfilled its promise.
On the other side, health workers will now be motivated to work after their demands were put into consideration by government.