Uganda Medical interns threaten strike

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

By  Precious Delilah

The Federation of Uganda Medical Interns (Fumi) has announced the intent to go on strike starting November 6 if their salaries are not increased immediately.
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Aceng, the interns expressed their dissatisfaction over their stagnant earnings despite the presidential directive to have it increased.
“A medical officer, dental surgeon and pharmacist earns Shs5.4m yet we expect allowances for these interns to be Shs2.7m,”  the letter reads in part. 

Fumi also explained that the intern nurses and midwives are currently earning Shs1.05m instead of the Shs2.4m as directed by the president, all of which has not been paid for the last two months, which they say has affected their living conditions.
The interns also informed the minister that due to their “starving mental and physiological state”, they are unable to work and will lay down their tools.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, said the interns should find better ways to have their grievances heard other than laying down their tools.
“This is not the right time to strike, they should just continue their training because there is a next group that will be coming. They just got an increment from Shs750,000 to Shs2.5m. They should be grateful that the government considered this,” Mr Ainebyoona said.
He added: “Regarding the delayed payments, they just need to be patient as the money is in the process. Soon it will be sent to different hospitals and they will be paid.”

Mr Ainebyoona also said their salaries are subject to taxation, which explains differences.
On June 1, President Museveni met officials from Fumi, UMA, Ministry of Health and other officials in regard to medical training and welfare of all medical interns in the country.
He then directed that medical interns be paid half of what their fully appointed colleagues earn.
In December last year, the doctors and medical interns went on strike over low pay and other welfare issues, which resulted in an increase in their salaries.

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