NOTU’s Usher Owere defends receiving Daisy Award amid nurses’ petition

Last Updated on: 6th April 2023, 10:26 am

Without any or less medical background, the Chairman General of the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) was awarded by Daisy Foundation.

The foundation is civic and supports the nursing profession through recognition programs as well as grants for nursing research and evidence-based practice.

According to available information, a Daisy Award is given to a “deserving nurse of your choice” each month or quarter, based on criteria you establish to meet your hospital’s mission and values.

Further, the Daisy Award was established to celebrate the extraordinary compassion nurses provide their patients and families every day.

Although Owere has stood for nurses and (entire medical workers), including other non-medical workers over the years, advocating for their welfare, some say he was not qualified to receive the award.

However, in an interview with TND News last month, Owere said, “Am humbled because I have fought many battles for the workers in all sectors including health workers in this particular one, I have stood with Nurses Union to defend and improving the welfare of nurses, midwives medical doctors, the interns.”

He cited the recent salary enhancement for health workers in Uganda as one of his biggest pushes.

“Award is given to those who have changed lives of nurses, and midwives and I have got another ward from interns… last government wanted to chase them from work and conceal all the training. When they went on strike I supported them, they got allowances from the government after several meetings with government Ministers, Prime Minister, and the President,” Owere said.

With emphasis, NOTU Chairman General said awards are for people who have transformed the lives of others.

You are not a nurse. Could you dedicate this award to a nurse? TND News Milton Emmy Akwam asked, and Owere replied: “I dedicated it to a nurse from Bulambuli, Agnes Namboso who climb a mountain every day to treat the people on the mountain.”

Usher Wilson Owere with his award. Courtesy.

Asked how best the welfare of medical workers can be enhanced, he said we must strengthen the negotiations machinery at the Ministry of public service, empower the nurses Union to be able to negotiate, medical Union and all public service Unions should be able to negotiate for workers with the government.

Petition against the award

Tracy Kobukindo is a nurse who started an online petition against awarding Owere. She says Daisy Awards were started to award and recognize outstanding nurses all over the world.

“The criteria for the reception of this award are that one MUST be a nurse,” she says. “As you know, in Uganda, instead of identifying and awarding an outstanding nurse (of which there are tens of thousands), The Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union chose to give the award to a person who is not a nurse, and not eligible for the award.”

By signing this petition, according to Kobukindo, you will join hundreds of nurses in Uganda to petition the Daisy Foundation to reallocate this award to a person in the nursing fraternity: surely there is at least one outstanding nurse you know who deserves it.

Like Kobukindo, James William Mugeni, a medical clinical officer agrees that the award was misplaced. “It is an award given to nurses for extraordinary efforts in caring for patients,” he says.

Responding to Owere for having said he “fought a good fight” for workers, nurse Kobukindo replied, “And while we thank everyone who had fought for nurses, we respectfully assert that this does not give them a right to take what is rightfully ours.”

For the past month, TND News request for comments from Daisy Foundation on awarding Owere and if they are ready to reallocate the award as demanded has been unheeded.

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