Medical interns oppose gov’t proposal to scrap allowances

Thursday August 25 2016
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Intern doctors protest at the Ministry of Health in Kampala on Thursday. Mobile Photo by Lubowa Abubaker

Intern Doctors at the different government hospitals are protesting against a proposal by government to scrap the allowance given to them during their one-year training period.

Intern doctors are entitled to a monthly payment of Shs600, 000, a rate fixed last year after a reduction from the initial Shs800, 000.

The allowance is supposed to cater for accommodation, transport and meals.

Last month, the ministry of health proposed to scrap off the allowance for privately sponsored students, in order to reduce the burden brought by the increasing numbers of medical students.

“Majority of the intern doctors undergo training as private students, they pay their own tuition, then when it comes to internship, government pays for them. And then at the end of the day, they are all out into the open, and government loses those resources,” Dr. Jane Aceng said in her first interview as Minister of Health.

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Although the proposal was not yet final, Ms Aceng said it would help government track the quality of the doctors.

The interns are however opposed to the idea. They argue that they invest all their time and resources to give a service to the country.

They thus carried placards and gathered at the Health Ministry Head Quarters this afternoon, with the hope of meeting the minister for a dialogue about their grievances.

Mr. Joel Mirembe, from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) said the ministry’s proposal was very unfair, considering that intern doctors are not like other interns who train whilst in school.

“I am working from morning to morning without being facilitated, yet I am spending money on transport, accommodation, feeding and all welfare. We want them to listen to us, and we are telling them that we are not happy with it,” he said.

Currently, about 850 intern doctors are deployed for hands-on clinical experience at government medical facilities countrywide.

150 of these are deployed at Mulago National referral hospital.

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