Medical Interns Uganda president, Robert Lubega (right), chats with the group’s spokesperson Aron Nahabwe, at a press conference in Mulago in February. Photo by Tony Rujuta
Medical interns have gone on strike and expressed their dissatisfaction with the Government's failure to pay their allowances for the last two months.
The interns led by their president, Robert Lubega, said they have been engaging the Ministry of Health on the matter and were promised pay by March 26, but that has not happened.
The interns’ publicist, Aron Nahabwe, said out of the 35 hospitals where they work, only interns from six hospitals have been paid.
Nahabwe reiterated that the interns will not return to work if the arrears are not cleared.
“We are not enjoying our labour because we can go three months without getting allowances. We work daily, for long hours and we even work on public holidays. Our landlords are evicting us from houses.” Nahabwe stressed.
Lubega called on the Government to quickly finalise the internship policy for medical doctors and introducing coming up with pre-entry exams, saying that this will assist the Government in coming up with the exact number of medical interns they need every financial year.
“There should be inter-ministerial collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, to regulate the entry of medical students into medical school, to help curb the increasing number of interns, through setting pre-entry exams and standardising cut-off points for public and private institutions,” Lubega said.
Last year, the interns joined medical doctors for a three week strike that crippled health services across the country, over allowances and frequency of pay.
They ended the strike only after the Government committed to bumping the interns’ allowances from sh750,000 to sh950,000, as well as paying them monthly, rather than quarterly.
In February, interns in public hospitals across the country went on strike over delayed allowances and shortage of medical supplies.
In the past, the health ministry has attributed the delay in paying allowances to quarterly budgetary remittances by the finance ministry.