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Health Ministry wants UGX 2Bn supplementary budget for medical interns

FILE PHOTO: Meidcal interns on strike over wages.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ministry of Health requires an additional 2 billion shillings for medical interns.

The Minister of State for Primary Health Care, Dr Joyce Moriku made the statement on Tuesday while appearing before the parliamentary health committee to respond to issues as in the petition by the Federation for Uganda Medical Interns.

The interns want a minimum pay of shillings 3 million instead of the current 940,000. They argue that each intern gets a net pay of shillings 750,000 which is not commensurate with the services they provide in the 39 accredited internship centres.

However, the minister, Dr Moriku says that the ministry cannot pay interns more than a million shillings because of a budget shortfall.

She says that the ministry is fast-tracking the supplementary request so that Ministry of Finance presents it to Parliament next week.

She told the committee that the Ministry of Finance allocated the ministry shillings 11.4 billion for 1,000 medical interns in the 2019/2020 internship period. However, there are currently 1,170 medical interns who have been deployed and therefore, the ministry would require a total of shillings 13.5 billion for allowances, induction trainings and support supervision.

She noted that unlike in the late 1990s when there were less than 300 medical interns, only medical interns and dental surgeons were required to undertake internship, the ministry is grappling with over 1,000 interns with the addition of graduate nurses, midwives and pharmacists.

With the number of medical schools also on the increase, the number of graduates per year is over 1,000, which Moriku says is difficult to pay each intern a monthly gross of 3 million or provide accommodation and meals at the internship centres.

Committee members led by Workers Representative, Dr Sam Lyomoki and Adjumani East MP, Mark Angel Dulu faulted planners at the health ministry.

The medical interns petitioned Parliament early month over low pay, lack of accommodation and also oppose the new rotation policy.

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