At Mubende Hospital, a total of 35 medical interns (including Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists have been affected by lack of transport means. The interns body says they stay far from the hospital and have been unable to report to their duty stations due to the ban of public transport.
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Several hospital attendants including medical interns have
failed to report to work since yesterday following a ban on public
transport as one of the measures to contain the spread of the
Coronavirus (COVID -19).
The ban on public transport was announced by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Wednesday this week. President
Museveni noted that the ban would affect taxis, minibuses, buses, train, Tuk-Tuks and
all Boda-bodas. The Boda-bodas were restricted to only carrying goods.
However, since the suspension of
public transport, major hospitals that have been utilizing the services of medical
interns are hit hard as the majority of interns are yet to find transport means to report to
Medical interns under their
umbrella Federation of Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) say they can no longer
go to work following the temporary banning of public transport.
Dr. Luswata Herbert, the
FUMI chairperson welfare has cautioned the medical interns against attempting
to use Boda bodas, citing that there were cases of being attacked or beaten by
“If you must work as an intern
and you have no accommodation on site and you are staying very far from the
internship site, don't risk being beaten when using Boda-bodas. Request the
hospital administrators to provide safe transport means (a car or ambulance) to
enable you reach work and home safely,” says Dr. Luswata in his communication
to interns today.
Dr. Luswata, who is also one of
the 41 medical interns attached to Kawempe Referral Hospital says the medical
interns are part of the front-line health workers in almost of all the busiest
national and regional referral hospitals who need special consideration and
protection in such emergency times.
He discloses that already there
are ongoing sit down strikes in Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital, Jinja
Regional Referral and Mbale Regional Referral due to lack of the Personal
Protective Equipment (PPEs).
“As its recommended by the World Health Organisation that Doctors and other health workers be allowed to
exercise their right to withdraw from a work station which poses serious danger
to Health, if they lack adequate Personal Protective Equipment. We hope the
concerned hospital administrators provide these PPEs so that the interns can
continue with their work,” says Dr. Luswata.
“It’s a tough situation that we have due to the current COVID-19
pandemic. We encourage the intern
doctors, nurses and pharmacists to stay calm amidst this pandemic, and
panic. Because panic can lead to errors which can lead to transmission
infection to self, and colleagues. It’s unfortunate that colleagues
'Doctors' in Italy lost their lives in the fight,” Dr. Luswata.
At Hoima Hospital, URN has
established that a total of 38 intern Doctors, nurses and pharmacist are not
working currently because of lack of personal protection gears. Although 15 are
accommodated around the hospital, 23 are not accommodated and lack transport
At Mubende Hospital, a total of
35 medical interns (including Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists have been
affected by lack of transport means. The interns body says they stay far from
the hospital and have been unable to report to their duty stations due to the
ban of public transport.
Dr. Samuel Kigula, the FUMI
president says the interns are health professionals working under supervision,
and that they have never encountered a situation of highly contagious and
infectious pandemic as COVID-19.
He says following the
presidential directives, the national governing committee of the medical
interns in their virtual meeting resolved that; “all interns should be taken
through a series of CMEs (Continuous Medical Education) about the disease to empower the knowledge and skills
in managing such conditions.”
Dr. Ekwaro Obuku, the immediate
past president of the Uganda Medical Association, a professional industry
association that champions medical doctors' interests in the county told URN
in a phone interview that UMA has already received notice that the presidential
directive to shut down public transport has largely affected key resource
persons in fighting the epidemic.
“For example health care
professionals who are in the front line should have waiver for
taxes on cars for them to buy. For us as Doctors we had requested the
president long time ago about four years ago on vehicles. This could have been
the time when we would have had our personal vehicles,” says Dr. Obuku.
He argues that medical interns
are still earning pea nuts (approximately 756,000 shillings) per month which
Dr. Obuku says cannot sustain them to commit to their work. He says government
should rethink its position against medical interns, who according to him are
the front-line soldiers in the fight against such diseases.
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Dr. Obuku wants the interns’
monthly remuneration increased to at least Shs.3million to prevent such
“Maybe they would have bought
themselves vehicles. So that is something that we are still waiting for the
ministry of health to handle. We appeal to the president to revise his stance and allow for
certain case by case for instance soldiers, policemen, healthcare
professionals, nurses, midwives and others on public transportation,” says Dr. Obuku.
According to Dr. Obuku, even when
medical interns are not directly involved in the treatment of Coronavirus, they
are critically needed in hospitals to handle other key health concerns.