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Interns doctors get big pay rise

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By Nobert Atukunda

President Museveni has directed that the monthly pay for intern doctors be increased from Shs750,000 to Shs2.5m.
The presidential directive is contained in an August 9 letter addressed to the prime minister and the ministries of Health, Finance and Public Service. 
The President argues that what interns have been earning cannot allow them meet their basic needs.

“It was noted that medical interns (medical doctors, dental surgeons, pharmacists, graduate nurses and midwives) earn a net pay of Shs750,000 which is not enough to meet basic needs. Most of them are not housed and live in rented unsafe locations distant from training hospitals,” the letter reads in part.
Mr Museveni further noted that medical interns are not provided with meals and have to buy food and cook for themselves yet they are always busy working.
According to the President, the salary increment for medical interns is to be implemented in consultation with ministries of Health and  Finance.

Background
In May,  about 1,403 medical interns working in 42 hospitals across the country went on a sit-down strike over low pay and poor working conditions.
The interns claimed that they handle about 80 per cent of patients in the hospitals and under their umbrella, the Federation for Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) demanded that government increases monthly remuneration from Shs750,000 to Shs3 million for doctors and pharmacists, graduate nurses’ pay  should be increased from Shs750, 000 to Shs2.2 million.

Also set to benefit from the President’s directive are graduate nurses, midwives and pharmacists who will earn half of the recommended pay of respective officers. 
“I recommend that all, medical interns be paid half of the “recommended” pay of fully appointed officers in the respective profession starting July 2021. For intern doctors this should be Shs 2,500,000 that is half of Shs5million a medical officer is to earn,” Mr Museveni’s letter further reads.

Misgivings
However, over the year similar directives have  not seen the light of day, which has led to misgivings about this particular directive. 
Doctors under their umbrella Uganda Medical Association (UMA) are preparing to go on strike if government does implement earlier directives around their remuneration and allowances. Threats of industrial action are, according to UMA aimed at compelling government to fulfil its promises.

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