KAMPALA – The Ministry of Health (MoH) has revealed that the three-month rotation scheme policy does not give interns adequate exposure to learning the practical skills in each of the four disciplines of Surgery, Medicine, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics/Gynecology.
This comes after medical interns complained about the revised rotation system between the different disciplines from 3 months in each discipline to 6 months in two disciplines commonly known as “5:1” .
In a statement dated September 30, the Director-General Health Services Dr Charles Olaro noted that the rotation for medical interns has always been six months in one surgical discipline and six months in one medical discipline until it was temporarily changed to three months.
“In 2009, this was temporarily changed to three monthly rotations in each of the 4 disciplines as a trial with the assumption that obtaining skills in all the disciplines would enable the medical doctors to be able to work in HCIVs comfortably and with confidence. This has not been the case,” he said in a statement.
He further revealed that most medical officers that were graduates of three months rotational scheme, when posted to Health Center IVs for example, could not even conduct simple surgical procedures or manage properly some medical conditions.
“After 10years of observation, in the best interest of patients and the interns themselves, it was recommended that we revert to the old rotation of 6 months each in a Medical and surgical discipline. This will give interns time to acquire the skills and confidence to manage most of the common conditions in this country – especially in rural health facilities where they do not have specialists to consult immediately” reads an excerpt.
Dr Olaro noted that a medical officer who undergoes a 6-month rotation can work and manage adequately the disease conditions in any part of this country as required by the Ministry of Health.
Adding that interns are under apprenticeship and therefore cannot dictate their own training curriculum and methods.
He further said the inadequate accommodation in some training sites is as a result of the increasing number of medical schools and medical students joining the internship training program.
“The Hospitals that provide internship training are limited in terms of infrastructure and capacity and currently overwhelmed with the numbers that are being released from the Universities. To address this, an accommodation allowance has been incorporated into the Monthly allowance given to interns,” said Dr Olaro.
On the matter of interns being given salaries inappropriate salary scale, Dr Olaro said they are not civil servants because they have not been recruited through the formal recruitment system and therefore cannot earn a salary.
“They are still undergoing apprenticeship training, after which, those who qualify can register as medical doctors and obtain a practicing licensing in order to be able to apply for formal recruitment. Ministry of Health (MOH) pays them allowances to facilitate their apprenticeship,” he said.
Adding that, “The current allowances paid to the medical interns are what is available in the MoH medium-term expenditure framework, taking into consideration the very high number of the medical interns – this year 1170.”
Dr Olaro advised the current group of interns who are interested in doing an internship to report to stations where they were posted to start their internship exercise as further details and clarifications will be given during the orientation program.