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MONEY LOADING: Good News for Striking Medical Interns from Museveni Government

Museveni and Dr Diana Atwine

President Museveni’s government officials have assured striking medical interns of their enhanced allowances, with payment expected sometime in the next two weeks.

The interns have been on strike since early November 2021 over the delayed implementation of a directive by President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni to have their allowances enhanced from Shs700,000 to Shs2.5m.

They had been fired by Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director general of health services at the Ministry of Health (MoH).

But the interns under their umbrella body, Federation of Ugandan Medical Interns (Fumi) are expected to meet Dr Mwebesa on December 17.

But even before that meeting, there were already assurances that the money was being processed and would be paid to the interns and senior house officers (SHOs) in the next fortnight.

“It is true that the House handled the issue and passed Shs32.5bn in the supplementary budget to cater to allowances of intern doctors and salaries of senior medical staff. There is a process we follow after passing a supplementary and we have been following this,” explained Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties).

“By close of business [Thursday, December 16, 2021), we should have issued the cash limit to them [Ministry of Health] to facilitate them pay the money.”

A day before Minister Musasizi’s assurances, MoH permanent secretary Dr Diana Atwine had informed executive directors of national referral hospitals, directors of regional referral hospitals, medical superintendents of general hospitals and medical directors of private-not-for-profit (PNFP) hospitals that MoFPED had assured her ministry of funds to pay interns and SHOs.

“This is to inform you that I have received confirmation from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), that the funds required to pay the interns and SHOs will soon be released. Accordingly, I have since submitted a request for the cash limit for the amount needed to pay the interns and SHOs,” wrote PS Dr Atwine on December 15.

She then demanded that hospital bosses submit updated lists of interns by Monday next week to allow payment of enhancement allowances.

“In view of the fact that some interns might have changed training centers of internship, while others might have completed internship in October 2021, we need to have an accurate record of interns and SHOs in the respective internship training centers to inform our payments of the allowances, as soon as the money is sent to the Ministry of Health,” she noted.

“This is therefore to instruct that you submit lists of all the interns and SHOs in your respective health facilities to my office, no later than 20th December 2021.”

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