KAMPALA – The Ministry of Health has accused medical interns of making excessive demands regarding their work conditions and said it is not ready to change its position.
Medical interns under their umbrella body, the Federation for Medical Interns, on Monday, staged demonstrations countrywide, protesting the new policy by the Health ministry on the rotation of intern doctors. The interns are demonstrating against the revised rotation system between the different disciplines from 3 months in each discipline to 6 months in only two disciplines- for the one year of internship.
The medical interns also want the ministry to pay them a salary of Shs3 million per month, arguing that they do the lion’s share of work in health facilities.
However, the acting Director-General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Charles Olaro, said interns cannot dictate their own training curriculum.
“Let those who want to do internship go ahead and start. Those with complaints can wait until the government is able to afford all their demands and start,” Dr Olaro said in an interview on Tuesday.
He added that the new changes were made after curriculum specialists discovered that some interns were unable to carry out simple medical procedures even after graduation. Some, he adds, did not even have the confidence to diagnose ailments and diagnose medicine.
“The trainers of these interns reported that most medical officers that had done their internship on the 3 months’ rotation method could not even conduct simple surgical procedures when posted to health centre IVs,” he said.
The Ministry of Health also said interns can only earn an allowance to facilitate their apprenticeship and not salaries. Each intern is paid 700,000 Shillings monthly to cater for accommodation and meals during the one-year internship. This year, the government needs a total of 1,170 interns.