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LOOMING HEALTH CRISIS as Doctors Announce Nationwide Strike Date

Mulago National Referral Hospital. Courtesy Photo

Uganda’s health sector is set for a crisis after the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) announced that it would rally doctors and all health workers to go on a nationwide strike over the non-deployment of interns.

The pre-interns have been at home instead of being at their work stations simply because government says it has no money to pay them. After their time at medical schools, doctors are expected to do a year of internship in health facilities. Government is expected to pay them for the work.

While government allocated Shs22.9bn for the allowances of medical interns and Senior House Officers (SHOs) in the 2023-2024 Financial Year, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng’s Ministry of Health (MoH) says the money was not enough to cater for all the interns.

Instead, the significant portion of these funds would be spent on the payment of arrears for up to 935 interns and SHOs who previously completed their internship but have never been paid most of their allowances.

The number of pre-interns (and or interns) has risen to 1,901.

To deploy this huge number of interns, MoH needs an additional Shs80.4bn. What was available for this role was Shs10bn:  Shs8bn for interns and Shs2bn for senior house officers.

In this fix, Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine announced that deployment of these pre-medical interns would only happen once the Finance Ministry has provided the requisite budgetary allocation.

PS Dr Atwine advised parents of pre-intern doctors who had capacity to pay for their internship deployment costs to go ahead and file their applications to health facilities they wished to practice from.

According to Dr Atwine, what will happen is that once government has provided funds to the Health Ministry, these parents would be reimbursed.

Now, UMA has given government up to August 01 to have deployed all the intern doctors or else there will be a nationwide crisis that will throw the country in a health crisis.

While government spokespersons, such as those at the Health Ministry, will soon be telling the country that there is no crisis, those seeking health services will realize that the situation is different on ground.

During the recent health exhibition, a former intern doctor revealed how a shocking number of patients died in just one night as s/he was overwhelmed when senior doctors were on strike. (See Details Here and There).

Meanwhile, a previous meeting called to resolve the issue of late deployment of intern doctors was so heated that doctors hurled insults at PS Dr Diana Atwine. (Read Story Here).

You can see the current salary structure showing how much government employees earn every month Here.

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