KAMPALA – The Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng has directed all medical interns interested in beginning their training to report to their allocated centres so that they can start the induction process.
Aceng made the call on Thursday 3 while presenting to Parliament the Ministry’s response to a petition filed to Parliament on actions taken in the prayers contained in the petition by the federation of medical interns after the intern doctors on Monday during their press conference unanimously agreed not proceed with picking up their appointment letters or even report to their respective health facilities unless government address their demands.
Addressing the House, Aceng acknowledged that the Ministry of Health had indeed changed the training schedule for intern doctors from the four disciplines training in three months back to the original two discipline training in two months.
She said that the decision followed advise by the intern medical supervisors who informed the Ministry that the three months rotation training had a number of gaps which did not enable the students to fully grasp the necessary skills and told off intern doctors that they need to understand that they are under apprenticeship and hence cannot dictate what they should study and how it should be done.
Aceng further says that the funds allocated to them to conduct this internship has not increased much yet the number of internees has been increasing every year from 970 in 2017/2018 to now 1170 internees in 2019/2020.
Aceng said, “The amount of allowances being paid to interns is the amount available in the Ministry of Health considering their high and ever-increasing number. In 2017-18, the total amount paid to interns was 9.3bn, in 2018-19, it remained the same UGX9.3bn. In 2019/20, it was raised a little to UGX11.4bn yet the number of interns is growing. In 2017/18, they were 970 internees, in 2018/19 they were 1045 internees, in 2019/20, the number increased to 1170.”
The Minister also said that the current training Centres were meant to train around 300 medical internees but despite the increased number of internees, the training facilities have not increased and the situation has been worsened with shortage of medical supervisors that has left the ratio of internees to supervisors at one supervisor supervising 50 internees.
Further, Aceng said that the current facilities were meant for only medical and dental practitioners but at the moment, the medical facilities are now housing all other disciplines like midwives and since the Ministry of Health does not determine or control the number of students taken on by various universities there is nothing much they can do about the welfare of the interns as their duty as the train them.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed the Parliamentary Health Committee to scrutunise the statement from the Ministry and summon the medical internees and come up with recommendations on how the relationship between the Ministry and medical internees can be harmonized because the complaints have been recurring annually, before a final decision by lawmakers would be taken.