Striking medics to seek legal redress over directive to vacate hospitals

Ms Lillian Nabwire, the President of the Medical Interns said that the government is wrong to resort to threats than addressing the long grievances. Photo | File

What you need to know:

  • Dr Herbert Luswata, the General Secretary of Uganda Medical Association (UMA) on Saturday said that they are convening a meeting with the leadership of the Federation of Uganda Medical Interns to discuss the way forward. He however noted that they had spoken to the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) to advise on legal redress.

Striking medical interns who were on Friday directed by the Ministry of Health to among others vacate hospital premises within one week are contemplating running to court.

Dr Herbert Luswata, the General Secretary of Uganda Medical Association (UMA) on Saturday said that they are convening a meeting with the leadership of the Federation of Uganda Medical Interns to discuss the way forward. He however noted that they had spoken to the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) to advise on legal redress.

“We are trying to get a response to that letter after having a meeting with the national governing council where the interns are represented. We are also looking at having a legal redress to that letter because the interns like any other Ugandans have a right to strike,” he said.

In the letter signed by Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services, medical interns who have been on strike for more than a month were notified that their arrears in salaries will be paid up to the time of the strike when the Ministry of Finance releases the funds.

Also, they are warned that they will not be signed off as having completed an internship since the next lot of interns are expected to report to hospitals in January.

But, Luswata says the association is in talks with the supervisors of the interns in the hospitals who have also gone on the UMA-led strike.

Ms Lillian Nabwire, the President of the Medical Interns said that the government is wrong to resort to threats rather than addressing the long grievances.

“We are going to have a meeting to discuss that letter then we shall have a collective stand about it,” she said.

She said that on Sunday they will have a meeting to air out what they will have finally decided to do.

Like their seniors, medical interns laid down their tools over low salaries, compensating families of doctors that succumbed to COVID-19 in line of duty, working with limited tools such as sundries and personal protective equipment in addition to constant drug stock-outs in hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Association of Dentists and that of medical laboratory professionals have also given notice of strike over similar grievances.

However, no agreement has been reached with the government so far despite many meetings with the President, Ministry of Health officials, and parliament.

Dr Luswata says they are set to have another meeting with the Prime Minister next week. 

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