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Intern doctors want internship disciplines maintained

By Andrew Ssenyonga

Added 17th February 2019 02:48 PM

Recently the ministry issued a directive stopping intern doctors from practicing the four rotational disciplines to two major disciplines saying that this would make them offer better services.

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Federation of Uganda intern doctors President Joel Mirembe (left) addressing journalists during a press conference at Mulago guest house on February 15, 2019. Photo by Nancy Nanyonga

Recently the ministry issued a directive stopping intern doctors from practicing the four rotational disciplines to two major disciplines saying that this would make them offer better services.

HEALTH  INTERN DOCTORS
 
Over 100 intern doctors have written to the Ministry of Health, demanding that they suspend the move to stop them from implementing the three months rotation four disciplines during internship.
 
Recently the ministry issued a directive stopping intern doctors from practicing the four rotational disciplines to two major disciplines saying that this would make them offer better services.
 
The intern doctors graduated from the universities as general practitioners with major competence in four disciplines including internal medicine, paediatrics and child health, obstetrics and gynaecology and surgery.
 
However in a letter to the ministry on Friday the intern doctor claimed that they entered into a contract with government but later the ministry issued the directive that bars them from practicing the four disciplines.
 
The president of medical interns, Dr. Joel Mirembe mentioned that upon the directive they went to court and it ordered that the intern doctors should practice the original four disciplines.
 
“on  January 25, court issued a temporary injunction against the ministry from implementing the rotation for medical interns from three months rotation in four disciplines to two major disciplines as set out in the letter dated October  5, 2018 by the acting director general health services,” Mirembe read the court order.
 
Speaking during a press conference on Friday at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Mirembe noted that among the several challenges they  face including poor pay, absence of drugs the ministry’s directive will make them lose 50% of what  they  studied.
 
“We reject the proposal because it limits our employment opportunities, forces us to choose careers that we don’t want, where one doctor is needed there will be two doctors posted,” he noted.
 
He added that during the one year of working exercise with the government accredited hospital one practices what they studied in the last five years and licensed after the practice.
 
Mirembe noted that the secretary to the committee that handles the junior doctors sent out an email to hospital directors telling them that they acknowledge the court order but the ministry was still discussing whether to implement or not.
 
“We ask the ministry to pronounce itself and write officially to hospitals to implement the court order.  We want to practice all the four disciplines the way we studied them not just to be pseudo specialists,” he pleaded.
 
Dr. David Kamya, head of Mulago Hospital intern doctorS argued that the move was dangerous to the patients and the doctors’ career.
 
“It would be expensive both for government and  peasants to have several doctors specialised in different disciplines at a health facilities especially in the rural areas,” he explained.
 
The ministry spokesperson said they would maintain the status quo as they look into the plight of the medical interns.
 
“ The move was aimed at help helping the interns to specialise and offer quality service but since they are challenging it, we will discuss and see a way forward,” the publicist said.

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