President Yoweri Museveni’s Government has fired all striking intern doctors and ordered them to vacate hospitals and houses they have been occupying.
In a letter date December 10, Dr Henry G Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health (MoH) has informed all Hospital Directors, and Medical Superintendents of Medical Internship Training Sites that the Ministry of Health Top Management has decided to fire all striking interns.
The medical interns, under their umbrella body, Federation of Uganda Medical Interns (Fumi) have been on strike since November 06, 2021 demanding for payment of enhanced medical internship allowances.
In June 2021, President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni ordered line ministries to ensure that medical interns’s allowances are increased from the current Shs750,000 to Shs2.5m starting in the 2021-2022 financial year.
But almost six months into the financial year, the interns are yet to receive their enhanced allowances.
Dr Mwebesa noted that government provided assurance of payment of enhanced Medical Interns allowances as soon as the supplementary budget is approved by Parliament, and that indeed, Parliament approved the supplementary budget and that the ministry is waiting for release of funds from Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
But despite government assurances, interns, who are in their second rotation with only with only two months to complete and get fully registered with their Professional Councils as Medical Officers, Pharmacists and Nurses/Midwives before getting into the job market, have insisted on remaining on strike.
They communicated their decision not to call off the industrial action in their December 06 letter from the medical interns union Fumi to MoH.
Angered by the fact that the interns have now been away from their training sites for over five weeks, the MoH’s top management has made three decisions that could hurt the doctors’ careers.
The current batch of medical interns will be replaced by a new one, leaving the current one stuck.
“All Medical Interns on strike vacate the Hospital premises within one week of the date of this letter to pave way for the new Medical Interns that are due to start in the year 2022. All those who went on strike will find their own way of completing their second rotation in order to be signed off,” said Dr Mwebesa.
“As soon as funds for enhancement of Medical Interns’ allowances are released by Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Health will pay their arrears up to the time the Medical Interns went on strike.”
The director general of health services has further told all Hospital Directors, Medical Superintendents and Medical Internship Training Sites to “effect the above directives immediately.”