KAMPALA/MBARARA- Medical students and interns from Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Gulu University have on September 30 2019 held a demonstration in protest against the conditions of work they describe as ‘horrible’.
Medical Students from MUST marched to the offices of the Resident District Commissioner and the District Health Officer (DHO) Mbarara where as those from Makerere University were meant to march from Mulago Hospital to parliament to express their displeasure with the Ministry of Health Policy about internship rotation, commonly known as “5:1”.
They demand a better rotation policy of three months per discipline which they say will enable them acquire the necessary practical skills, a tax free allowance, salary increment and national induction before internship begins.
Responding to a three paged petition letter that had seven recommendations, the Mbarara DHO Dr Peter Ssebutinde informed the MUST students that allowances are taxable claiming that he also receives taxed allowances.
“I am going to address the petition with urgency to higher authorities,” Dr Ssebutinde promised.
On the other hand, students from Makerere University were not granted the opportunity to march to parliament as police dispersed them off with tear gas and four arrested.
According to the Deputy Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Luke Owoyeigire, those who were arrested are being held at Wandegeya Police Station and will be charged with unlawful procession.
The Vice President Federation for Uganda Medical Interns Dr Romeo Okido said the the ministry of health has refused to address their concerns and even disrespected a court injunction.
“We have written to them and over issues that court has directed them but Ministry of health has adamantly refused to listen to us. They have refused to tell us anything, they have gone ahead to force us to pick appointment letters, giving deadlines and most of our colleagues were even harassed,” Dr Okido said.
He further said the policies that they don’t want were implemented even they said they would not report to work.
The arrested include the outgoing President of the Federation for Uganda Medical Interns Dr Mirembe Joel, Dr Otim Joseph Gutagwa, Kyakunizire Faith and Kiggundu Roland.
They argue that they do not want pseudo specialty adding that they are poorly remunerated and yet they are over worked at the hospitals where they are placed to carry out their internship from.