Speaker orders inquest into medical interns’ pay claims

Medical interns kneel in the middle of a road in Kampala during their protest in December 2021.. PHOTO / FILE

What you need to know:

  • The decision to institute the committee came after Ms Margaret Muhanga, the State minister for Primary Healthcare, told the House that they had paid medical interns in recent months.

The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among yesterday instituted a committee to establish whether striking medical interns have been paid as claimed by the Health ministry.

The committee members include Mr Paul Omara (Otuke County), Mr Herbert Ariko (Soroti City East), and Mr Herbert Tayebwa (Kashongi County).

The decision to institute the committee came after Ms Margaret Muhanga, the State minister for Primary Healthcare, told the House that they had paid medical interns in recent months.

Medical interns have been on strike since November 7 over nonpayment of their emoluments. The strike has paralysed work in the hospitals and other health facilities countrywide.

When asked by the Speaker when the medical interns were last paid, Ms Muhanga said: “[They were paid in] June, July, and August in the first quarter. So now we have paid for September and October. We have paid up-to-date.”

Ms Among then demanded evidence of the payments.

“I want evidence of the money that was sent to the referral hospitals because we may be here thinking you are the one making mistakes and yet it is the referral hospitals. So, can you give us evidence of the money that was sent to referral hospitals?” she asked.

In response, Ms Muhanga presented documents she said showed that they paid the health workers.

She added that money was sent to 51 hospitals and the documents contain the details of every date when money was sent.

Unsure about the information provided, Ms Among said she was going to verify the information herself, a move, which prompted her to select the three lawmakers to verify information in the documents.

She asked the committee to scrutinise the documents.

“We need feedback tomorrow [today] on that report. We shall discuss the report when we get feedback after it has been analysed.”

The scrutinising of medical interns’ payment reports follows the ongoing strike of intern doctors over the said unpaid remunerations.

On Tuesday, the interns dismissed the Health ministry’s statements that they had been paid and that the strike had been called off.

The intern doctors, dental surgeons, and pharmacists are asking Shs2.7 million, half of the Shs5.4 million senior medical officers receive. Intern nurses and midwives want Shs2.4 million, half of what their senior equivalents earn, an amount equating to Shs4.8 million.


ABOUT THE                         COMMITTEE

A banker by profession, Mr Paul Omara (Otuke County), who is overseeing the scrunitisation process previously served as a banking executive across several African countries before joining politics.

Mr Herbert Tayebwa (Kashongi County) has an accounting background while Mr Herbert Ariko (Soroti City East) has experience and qualifications in general management and public administration, among other fields.

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