The Minister for Health, Dr Ruth Aceng has said that medical interns are not entitled to a salary.
Presenting a statement to Parliament on the actions taken on the prayers contained in the petition by the federation of medical interns, Aceng said that Medical interns are not civil servants because they have not been recruited through the formal recruitment system.
“Interns are still undergoing apprenticeship training, after which, those who qualify can register as a health workers and obtain a practicing licensing in order to be able to apply for formal recruitment, “she said.
The Minister presented the statement before the House chaired by Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday, 03 October 2019. This followed a petition by the interns who are seeking better working conditions and increased pay among others.
Aceng also advised the intern doctors to report to their deployed training centre to start their apprenticeship.
“We have advised the current group of interns, that those who are interested in doing internship should report to the centres of deployment to start their internship training. The Uganda Medical Internship Committee will carry regional induction training for the medical interns in order to orient them in October 2019,” she said.
The minister reiterated that internship was important because it is an avenue for them to acquire practical training on top of the theory picked in school.
“Medical interns have been complaining about the revised rotation for three months in each of the four disciplines. The rotation in 2009 was reduced to three months in each discipline with the assumption that after obtaining these practical skills, the doctors would then be able to work in Health Centre IVs comfortably,” Aceng said.
According to the minister, most medical officers that were graduates of the rotational scheme when posted to Health centers IVs, could not conduct simple surgical procedures or properly manage some medical conditions.
However, Kadaga and other Members of Parliament were concerned that the minister was stating that intern doctors with Bachelors in Medicine and Bachelors in Surgery as qualifications cannot carry outsimple surgeries.
“It is a misdemeanor to say that you have a degree in Medicine and surgery and after graduation, a doctor cannot conduct an operation? How did they graduate?” Kadaga asked.
Hon. Abbas Agaba (NRM, Kitagwenda County) said the interns obtain experience in their five year course which includes performing surgeries.
“The interns have practical experience on cadaver (dead bodies used by physicians) and they get to learn the human body during the five year term. When they go for internship, they know what to do and have the guidance of the senior doctors,” Agaba said.
The Speaker directed that the statement is handled by the Committee on Health which will invite the interns to make their submissions before presentation of a report for debate.