Medical Interns will go on strike next week if the government does not address their demands. The interns want the government to increase their monthly allowance from 900,000 to the minimum wage of a U4 doctor which stands at 3 million Shillings.
In a statement released by the Federation for Uganda Medical Interns, the interns threatened to put down their tools because the government has continuously failed to fulfil its promises to the young medics. Dr Lillian Mary Nabwire, the president of the federation says the strike is their last resort after all other attempts failed to yield results.
“We do not have what to do. Our predecessors have been fighting for an increase in pay but today nothing has happened. We were promised an increase in our allowances but it has come to our attention that the monies the health ministry had allocated in the draft budget to address this have been removed. There’s no money for us now,” Dr Nabwire said.
According to Nabwire, interns are working in very hard conditions where many of them cannot afford lunch or rent decent accommodations with the current allowance that they are receiving. They also want the government to provide housing for all intern doctors and nurses.
According to medical officers at different health facilities visited by URN, this will see over 80 per cent of health services in government hospitals come to a standstill. There are 1403 medical interns deployed in government facilities across the country.
URN’s attempts to get in touch with the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine were futile. The senior public relations spokesperson, Emmanuel Ainebyoona however said they were not aware of the interns’ demands.
” We have not yet received a letter from the interns informing us of their decision to strike. When we get their letter, we shall be able to address their demands and find a way forward,” Ainebyoona said.
Last week, nurses and midwives threatened to go on strike over the government’s inability to give them a lunch allowance. The strike was however called off today after the government committed to allocating 40 billion Shillings to cater for lunch.