Uganda: Minister Warns Medical Interns Over Patient Mistreatment

Medical Interns demonstrate outside ministry of Health recently.
Medical Interns demonstrate outside ministry of Health recently.

Kampala — The Minister for Health Jane Ruth Aceng has passed a strong warning to the incoming intern medical doctors, pharmacists and nurses not to mistreat patients in those government hospitals where they are going to be deployed during their one year training.

“The medical profession is very critical in which you are delegated with life. You have to respect the people whom you are offering the services,” Ms Aceng told the interns during their induction at Mulago School of Nursing last Friday.

For the professionals to earn respect from patients, the minister, urged interns on the need to emphasize professional discipline adding that “everyone would want to go to a health facility and be served by a person they look up to.”

The minister’s caution to the trainees comes on the heels of the rampant complaints of patients’ mistreatment by health workers especially in the countryside government hospitals.

The president recently ordered for the transfer of patients from Nakawuka Health center 111 in Wakiso District after several complaints by residents over mistreatment of patients. The interns’ induction comes after two months’ standoff between the interns and the ministry of health after the former challenged the proposed new internship policy.

Among the new conditions entailed in the guidelines include; a mandatory two year service at a government health facility, pre-entry exams before deployment and scrapping internship allowances for private students.

The High court in Kampala, however, on Friday issued an injunction on the new guidelines by the ministry until it rules on the case in which the students challenge the development.

The internship which falls in the fifth year of study for doctors is a precondition for one’s confirmation as a qualified medical doctor.

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