Police in Kampala are holding a group of 27 medical interns and doctors who were Wednesday intercepted and arrested while marching to parliament to deliver a petition inviting parliament to intervene into their standoff with government over their enhanced salaries and allowances.

Both medical interns and doctors have been on strike for a couple of weeks demanding that relevant authorities effect President Yoweri Museveni’s pledge of increasing allowances of medical interns from Shs750,000 to Shs2.5 million. Doctors after the enhancement will earn Shs5 million.

The Ministry of Health last week decided that the striking medical interns leave the training sites to pave way for the incoming interns.

It is behind this background that they want parliament to intervene and find an amicable and long term solution.

According to ASP Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy spokesperson, out of the 27 doctors arrested, 24 are males while 3 are females and they are charged with holding unlawful Procession. They are currently detained at the Central Police Station in Kampala.

“They are held on charges of holding a procession which was illegal. Given that we are living in COVID-19 times, they must seek guidance from the Ministry of Health on how they can carry out any activity involving gathering of many people, something they did not do,” ASP Owoyesigire said.

He added that they were yet to get statements from them but they got information that they were heading to parliament.

Police is now considering to either release them on bond or producing them to court, according to Owoyesigire.

Prior to their arrest, Dr Samuel Oledo, the UMA President said, “We are going to parliament to take our document indicating the different things that the President spoke. We are taking the document to the Speaker of Parliament to ensure that our issues are resolved.”

Apart from salary and allowances enhancement, doctors also want government to increase the drugs and sandries budget, provide enough drugs and PPEs in hospitals and well as compensating families of doctors whose lives were lost on the frontline fighting COVID-19.

Parliament already approved a supplementary budget from which the enhanced allowances for medical interns will be paid but the finance ministry is yet to release the funds.

In a letter ‘firing’ the interns, Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General Health Services in the Ministry of health, said that “as soon as funds for enhancement of Medical Interns’ allowances are released by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Ministry of Health will pay their arrears up to the time the medical interns went on strike.”

It is should be noted that the medical interns are remaining with only two months to complete their internship and get fully registered with their respective councils as medical officers, pharmacists, nurses and midwives. On how the fired intern doctors will complete their second and last rotation, the Ministry says they (striking medical interns) will find their own way.

Kungu Al-Mahadi Adam is an experienced Ugandan multimedia Journalist with a background of fact checking and thorough research. He is very passionate about current African affairs particularly Horn of Africa. He...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *