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Gov't Deploys Medical Interns, Cuts Allowances :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Gov't Deploys Medical Interns, Cuts Allowances

In a notice released on Friday, Dr Henry Mwebesa the Director General of Health Services revealed that medical interns who have been waiting since April have been deployed to 58 internship centres and are expected to report by Thursday next week.

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The Ministry of Health has deployed medical interns to various training hospitals across the country, ending months of Ping-Pong between the interns and the government.

In a notice released on Friday, Dr Henry Mwebesa the Director General of Health Services revealed that medical interns who have been waiting since April have been deployed to 58 internship centres and are expected to report by Thursday next week.

 Mwebesa further reveals that, unlike previous interns who were earning monthly allowances of 2.4 million Shillings, incoming interns will receive a net monthly allowance of one million shillings.

“Government will deploy the 1901 medical interns within the available budget at a net monthly allowance of UGX 1,000,000 per intern to facilitate accommodation and feeding”, the letter shows in part.

However, the issue of paying interns has over the years been controversial leading to several strikes as young doctors agitate for more pay until President Museveni made a directive for the interns to be paid half of their senior’s pay. As a result, the previous medical interns who finished training in March were receiving 2.5 million shillings in allowances per month.

When contacted by Dr. Herbert Luswata, the General Secretary of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) about the latest development and he said while the latest deployment is a welcome move, the government should commit to paying interns their full pay of 2.5 million once resources become available.

He says the President has not receded his earlier directive and the one million is being accepted due to limited resources available now.

  //Cue in: ”One million is...

Cue out: "...allowances from government”. // 

Meanwhile, it should be noted that a group of pre-interns stormed the Ministry of Health headquarters in Kampala last week agitating for placement.

Then, Dr Christine Nabutto, one of the Pre-interns told URN on the side-lines of the protest that out of frustration they decided to go seek answers directly from Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng or the Permanent Secretary after months of receiving conflicting positions from different government officials.

Just three days before that, the association had issued a notice to go on strike if the young doctors are not deployed by August 01, 2023.

Now, Luswata says the deployment shows government appreciation that medical interns should be in hospitals and that they need allowances to be able to work.

//Cue in:” We are not sure...

Cue out: ….. the policy remains”. // 

Last month, during the budget reading ceremony, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija revealed that they were to conduct meetings aimed at resolving the fate of interns with claims from sections in government that they were contemplating scrapping allowances completely due to raising numbers of interns. 

At the time, Kasaija said they had allocated 22 billion Shillings to pay arrears for outgoing interns who finished training in March in addition to paying Senior House Officers who have been demanding arrears spanning from November 2022 for some.  

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