The recent outbreak of Ebola in Uganda has once again brought to the fore the enormous risks that Uganda’s health workers endure while on duty.
At the time of writing this piece, four health workers including a Tanzanian surgeon, had died from the disease. Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng’s twitter account has lately become a source of grim news about the loss of our valued health workers.
Under their umbrella body, the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) doctors have raised concern about the failure or reluctance by the government to compensate the relatives of the deceased health workers.
It is a sad situation that is scaring doctors from daring to touch patients with deadly diseases as Ebola.
It is our considered view that the plight of our doctors and other health workers needs to be addressed by ensuring that government enrolls all it’s health workers onto the Workman’s Compensation insurance policy.
A number of leading private sector players make annual payments to insurance companies in order to be able to provide some cover in the event that their staff loses a life or endures a life-threatening illness while on duty.
This cover helps the workers or their immediate family members to live dignified lives in the event that they die or disabled while on duty.
The government needs to adopt this approach and prioritize health workers because of the unique risks they face on a daily basis while caring for Ugandans.
Later, such a policy can be expanded to cover the rest of the public service, depending on the degree of exposure to the risk of injury or death.
Such policies would endear people towards government and show that the government really cares about its workers.