Kampala – Uganda. Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) on behalf of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) and the Federation for Uganda Medical lnterns (FUMI), has issued a notice of the intention to sue in response to the Ministry of Health’s directive for medical interns to vacate hospital premises. UMA and FUMI are exercising a constitutional right to carry out industrial action geared at resolving the challenges faced in the day-to-day execution of their work, training, service delivery and welfare. The challenges range from lack of proper supervision, lack of accommodation, poor remuneration and poor working environment, among others.
By virtue of their appointment by the Ministry of Health, medical interns play a vital role as frontline workers in this era of the Covid 19 pandemic. It is therefore inconceivable that the Ministry of Health has resorted to illegally denying the medical interns their constitutional right to practice their trade and complete their medical training.
On 9th August 2021, His Excellency The President of Republic of Uganda following a meeting with the leadership of UMA, directed that the Government addresses the challenges of UMA and FUMI by, among others, enhancing the remuneration of the medical interns.
Unfortunately, instead of fast-tracking the implementation of the presidential directives aimed at resolving the grievances that led to the strike, the Ministry of Health has resorted to irregular, unorthodox and unconstitutional means of resolving a lawful industrial action. Directing medical interns on strike to vacate the hospital premises within one week is not only unacceptable and unjustifiable in a free and democratic society like Uganda, it is also a callous decision.
In light of this, we point out that the directive does not only undermine constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms of medical interns, it also offends the Directive/ Guidance by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda. These actions are also irregular, illegal, arbitrary, high handed and certainly challengeable in the Civil Courts of Law.
Call to action
We call upon the Ministry of Health to recall the directive to the medical interns to leave their stations within two days or else we risk creating a crisis in the delivery of health services.
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Find the press statement and a copy of this letter attached here.