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Pre-interns Ask Gov't to Overturn Decision to Expel Striking Doctors

In an interview with URN on Sunday, Leonard Mutebi a representative of Pre-interns said the Friday directive which among others asks interns who were in their second rotation five weeks ago before industrial action to find a way of finishing their training shows how hard the conditions they are about to start work in are.

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Graduate doctors whose internship begins next year have said they will not report to hospitals. This comes two days after the Ministry of Health asked striking medical interns to vacate hospitals in a week.

In an interview with URN on Sunday, Leonard Mutebi a representative of Pre-interns said the Friday directive which among others asks interns who were in their second rotation five weeks ago before industrial action to find a way of finishing their training is an indication of how hard the conditions are.  

  ///Cue in:” We are not joining ………     

Cue out: ………. Efforts by joining”. //

Among the contentious issues that led to their laying down of tools are lack of medicines in hospitals, lack of work tools such as personal protective equipment, accommodation, and low facilitation of just 750,000 Shillings yet they literally run health facilities that have suffered perennial low staffing of qualified professionals.

They are now asking that they be paid an increased salary of 2.5 Million Shillings but according to Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services this money is currently unavailable although he notes a supplementary budget was passed and awaits the release of funds by the Ministry of Finance.

When this money is finally availed, Mwebesa said in a letter written on Friday, it will only pay the striking medical workers arrears of up to November when they were still working.

This development has however caused an uproar among not only medical circles but also workers’ unions in the country. For instance, while the Federation of Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) is still discussing the way forward, the mother Uganda Medical Association(UMA) is considering suing the government.

Dr. Herbert Luswata, the General Secretary of the Medical Association told URN that they have contacted the Rights Organization – Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) for intervention considering that their right to express their grievances and demonstration are being trampled on.  

Meanwhile following this letter, a number of medical workers who had initially abstained from the industrial action to offer emergency services have either put down tools or notified their bosses about their next course of action.

At the China Uganda Friendship hospital in Naguru, Dr. Allan Mbaine, the group leader of interns said they have been on duty since November 2nd despite a strike call from FUMI to be able to handle emergencies but the Mwebesa letter shows they don’t value their contribution.

"It is not only interpreted as a lack of value for medical interns but also a threat to the medical profession. We have decided to join our colleagues and we shall not report for any activity starting Sunday midnight”.  

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