17 December 2012

Uganda: Mulago Intern Doctors Go On Strike

Over 200 intern medical doctors at Mulago National Referral Hospital Mulago are on strike protesting the government's delay in paying their allowances.

The student doctors claim they have not been paid allowances for November and December and are vowing not to resume work until the money had been channeled to their bank accounts.

"We had a meeting on Thursday morning with the hospital's Executive Director Dr. Baterana Byarugaba and he promised that the money would be put on our accounts by Friday before 12:00pm," the source however added that when they checked their bank accounts had not been credited. He said they would only return to work after being paid.

Medical doctors on internship are entitled to a sh600,000 monthly allowance. The source further said on Friday Byarugaba informed them that he had received communication from the health ministry Permanent Secretary to the effect that the money would be deposited on their accounts tomorrow (Tuesday). "The students, however, did not believe in the official communication because the document was not signed by the permanent secretary," the source said.

The current lot of students started their internship in May. At least four interns are usually assigned to work in each of the wards which include; the Obstetrics and Genecology ward, Paediatrics, surgery and general medicine.

Mulago hospital spokesperson Enock Kusasira said the hospital management had had a meeting with the interns and promised them that their allowances would be paid early this week. He attributed the glitch to delays in the electronic transfer of the cash from Bank of Uganda. Although Kusasira said the strike would not affect service delivery since the regular medical workers were on duty to attend to patients, when the New Vision visited Ward 3B-E there was only a nurse attending to patients and a cleaner.

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