Medical interns have called off their strike indefinitely after government paid off their allowances.
The medical interns laid down their tools last month citing failure by government to pay their allowances for two months amounting to about Shs 2 billion. At the time of the strike about, 800 interns in 29 regional hospitals had not been been paid their allowances for March and April.
The national interns' medical executive committee called off the strike this morning at a press conference at Galloway House. Dr Robert Lubega, the president medical interns said the interns are resuming their work.
"After our recent engagements with interns in 35 hospitals, we found out that majority of the interns, about 85 per cent had received money on their individual accounts and it was then that the national interns executive committee made the following resolutions. That, interns will resume duty effective today May 21, 2018." said Lubega.
He however, noted that the committee would fully support all interns that decide to continue with the strike because of non payment of their allowances.
"As the NIC we shall support all sites that continue with industrial action for reasons of of non payment of allowances among others….As NIC we’re saying that those hospitals that have not been fully paid if they continue with the industrial action, we're going to fully support them because they can't continue working on empty stomachs." he added.
According to the committee, interns from 12 teaching facilities have not yet been paid. These include among others Jinja regional referral hospital, Mbale regional referral hospital, Soroti regional referral hospital, Lira regional referral hospital, Gulu regional referral hospital , Naguru hospital , Entebbe hospital, Masaka regional referral hospital, Kitovu hospital, Mbarara regional referral hospital, Kampala International University Teaching hospital and Mulago national referral Hospital.
The intern doctors are also calling for more funding for the National Medical Stores. They want government to fulfil its commitment to the Abuja declaration and spend at least 15 per cent of the national budget on health.
According to Lubega, if government fulfils its commitment, it would be able to increase the budget of National Medical Stores.
"During our visit we discovered that the many health facilities suffer from a lack of drugs. People are suffering due to a lack of drugs and government should sort this out by increasing funding for NMS from Shs 225 million to Shs 500 million," he said.
Last year, David Bahati, the state minister of Finance for Planning during the medical workers strike promised to provide a supplementary budget of Shs 2.4 billion to cater for the deficit that would come with maintaining medical interns at a gross pay of Shs 940,000 per medical intern.