The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga, has strongly criticized officials from the Ministry of Health for proposing a discriminatory policy regarding pre-medical interns.
The government’s proposal suggests that interns who can afford to “pay” for their internship placements would be deployed, which Mr Mpuuga deems illegal.
Mr Mpuuga emphasized that it is mandatory for the government to deploy pre-medical interns with pay. The students who have chosen to pursue these professions did so based on the understanding that they would receive compensation for their mandatory practical work, as represented by the laws of Uganda. He expressed his concerns in a statement issued on Thursday.
The Uganda Medical Association (UMA) has also rejected the proposal, describing it as extremely dangerous, discriminatory, and poorly thought through. This especially impacts pre-medical interns who cannot afford to sustain themselves financially.
UMA believes that implementing this proposal will lead to inequality among future health workers and negatively affect the quality of service and treatment outcomes.
They stressed that medical practice in Uganda should not be limited to the wealthy and should not force aspiring health professionals into what they referred to as “healthcare slavery.”
Medical interns, who are qualified doctors, pharmacists, and nurses, require a one-year placement in hospitals to obtain permanent practicing licenses from their respective professional bodies.
According to information from UMA, some medical interns have been waiting for deployment for over 10 months, exacerbating the concerns surrounding the proposal.