President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s government is staring at a looming crisis in the health sector after incoming intern doctors announced a boycott of government hospitals over the firing of striking medical interns.
In his directives to heads of hospitals, director general of health services Dr Henry Mwebesa gave intern doctors only two weeks within which to leave hospital premises.
This prompted incoming medical interns in Uganda to hold a crisis meeting on Sunday at Mulago National Referral Hospital and thus announced a nationwide boycott of all government hospitals and resolved to seek placements in private facilities.
This means that government must act as quickly as possible to avert a looming health crisis since interns are said to do a lot of work in its health facilities.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hebert Luswata, the general secretary of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), said they will meet soon with the leadership of the Federation of Uganda Medical Interns and come up with a plan, adding they have also consulted with the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) to advise on legal redress.
Luswata said the document sent to the medical interns demanding that they vacate government hospitals is a mere threat and the interns’ industrial action is legal.
“Strikes are legally allowed in Uganda. What the government should do is negotiate with the striking doctors. The government is at a loss,” he said.
He said they are also going to court so they can get an injunction against the government’s decision.
The medical interns went on strike on Nov. 21 demanding better salaries, compensation for the families of doctors who succumbed to COVID-19 while on duty, more personal protective equipment and other related supplies and the stocking of hospitals with all necessary drugs.
Government may have to rescind its decision to fire the current interns, and that would mean quickly working on their concerns for the enhancement of their allowances.