BARYOMUNSI: WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS ON MEDICS STRIKE
By Joel Mugabi
A Friday meeting to discuss the way forward on the ongoing industrial action by intern doctors, under their umbrella body of Federation of Ugandan Medical Interns (FUMI), seems to have yielded fruit, and raised hopes that the health science students could return to work next week.
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On December 17, ICT and National Guidance Minister Dr Chris Baryomunsi chaired a meeting attended by government officials, most of them from the Ministry of Health (MoH), on one side, and health workers’ associations, including FUMI and Uganda Medical Association (UMA).
Also in attendance was State Minister of Health in charge of Primary Health Care Margaret Muhanga; Director General of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa, who had issued the December 10 directive demanding that all striking interns vacate hospital premises; as well as representatives of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU).
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According to Dr Baryomunsi, MoH officials assured intern medical doctors, intern pharmacists as well as intern nurses and midwives that government will pay them Shs2.5m, Shs2m and Shs1.5m monthly, respectively, for the period July-November/December 2021. It was also resolved that Senior House Officers (SHOs) or clinical postgraduate students be paid Shs2.5m for the same period of time (July-December 2021).
“However, those who stayed on duty shall be paid up to the end of December 2021, and, and going forward these will be the monthly rates,” said Minister Dr Baryomunsi, adding that MoH will transfer payments for all interns’ allowances to accounts of internship training centers starting December 20.
The other key resolution from the Friday meeting was that Dr Mwebesa’s directive firing striking interns be rescinded. Consequently, Baryomunsi further revealed, the period for which some interns were on industrial action will be compensated by extending internship for a time equivalent to the number of weeks missed.
According to the Minister, leaders of UMA and FUMI agreed to meet members of their associations to discuss the way forward regarding the industrial action. It is expected that UMA and FUMI could call off their strike by Monday and resume work following promises that the interns could start smiling to the bank next week.(For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us email@example.com).