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Fear as interns threaten to join doctors strike over poor pay

Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng. The doctors accuse the minister of using derogatory language. File photo.

Intern doctors in the country have threatened to join the ongoing strike by senior doctors in their concerns are not addressed.

Addressing journalists Friday morning in Kampala, Robert Lubega, the head of the Uganda Interns Association, an umbrella body that brings together interns, said they will be putting down their tools if they are not paid Shs2.5 million monthly stipend.

Lubega also refuted Health ministry’s claims that interns are paid Shs 940,000, saying they only receive Shs 545, 000 on their account while a few lucky ones receive Shs616,000.

“Unless we are given Shs2.5 million per month, we are also laying down our tools…” Lubega said.

The announcement by the interns comes three days into an ongoing strike by Ugandan doctors under their umbrella organization, Uganda Medical Association, who are protesting poor pay, lack of medicine in hospitals and emergency equipment at their places of work; as well as harassment and frequent arrest of colleagues by the State House Health Monitoring Unit.

The doctors want government to disband the Health Monitoring Unit established by President Museveni in 2009 ostensibly to help address the challenges faced by the Health sector.

The strike that started on November 8, has frustrated work at all major government hospitals across the country.
Ekwaru Obuku, the head of the UMA also warned that they might be forced to withdraw emergence services as well if the Health minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, doesn’t refrain from using derogatory statements.

The minister yesterday said UMA is not a registered trade union and cannot enjoy the rights and privileges accruing from the Labor Unions Act.

The minister added that what UMA is doing is illegal and that the perpetrators should be treated like criminals.

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