Mulago hospital medical interns have gone on a sit-down strike protesting failure by authorities to pay their salaries for the last three months.
The affected are 159 interns who began working in August 2014 and are expected to finish in August this year. Each is paid Shs800,000 per month, bringing the amount government owes them to Shs381m for the three months.
“I have been observing how medical interns are treated for the past five years, but it seems interns are only paid after they strike. No one is leading anyone into a strike, all of us are tired and discontented,” one of the interns, who declined to be named, said during an interview with the Daily Monitor.
The intern said two meetings with the Ministry of Health over the matter did not yield anything.
The most affected interns are nurses and doctors who work for more than 10 hours a day, who account for more than 50 per cent of the interns. Mulago hospital admits more than 2,000 patients a day, making it one of the busiest hospitals in the country. However, its performance is affected by understaffing. Medical interns have helped to plug this gap.
Mr Enock Kusasira, the Mulago hospital spokesperson, declined to comment on the matter and referred this reporter to the Ministry of Health.
When contacted, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, Ms Rukia Nakamatte, confirmed that there are salary arrears but added that the ministry was in talks with the interns to resolve the issue.
“All interns across the country are being affected, it is not only Mulago,” Ms Nakamate said. “We are working on ensuring that they get their allowances and salaries. We hope we can work on it so that they do not strike,” Ms Nakamatte said.