Speaker Anita Among has directed the Minister for Health to table before the House evidence that allowances of medical interns have been paid.
This followed several disputing statements from Members of Parliament after the State Minister for Health, Hon. Margaret Muhanga informed the House that the interns had called off the strike after being paid.
“Dentists and doctors were paid shs2.5 million, pharmacists shs2 million and nurses and midwives shs1.5 million,” said Muhanga.
The Minister, however, attributed the delay in payment to less funding to the ministry
“July and August were paid from the first quarter but releases were inadequate and thus, we paid September and October in this quarter,” Muhanga added.
However, Hon. Lulume Bayigga (DP, Buikwe South) disputed the minister saying that he had been in a meeting of the health committee where the interns asserted that they had not been paid. “They told us that they have not called off the strike, and they have not been met by the Ministry of Health,” he said.
Kole North MP, Hon. Samuel Opio said that the medical interns also raised concerns about salary discrepancies which have not been addressed.
“The President directed that the interns be paid half of the salaries of their seniors but the Ministry of Health has decided to apply their own salary scale,” Opio said.
Speaker Among directed the minister to lay before the House documentation to show that the interns had been paid. "It is not fair to say that these people have been paid when they haven’t. You rather pay them first before paying MPs,” she said.
The Speaker noted that the strike by the interns came at a risky time and urged government to ensure the matter is solved.
“The timing of this strike is worrying especially with the outbreak of Ebola and all other sicknesses,” she said.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Matthias Mpuuga observed that the delay to remunerate intern doctors has affected health service in hospitals across the country.
“People are complaining about patients not attended to because somebody is casually attending to duty. This is unacceptable. Will the Minister give information to the House on how many lives were lost and who is accountable for this criminal negligence,” Mpuuga said.
The Speaker also tasked the Prime Minister to present an update to the House on the establishment of the Salary Review Commission.
The Minister for Public Service, Hon. Muruli Mukasa said the appointment of the Commission's Board Members is in its final stages and the names will be presented to Parliament in two weeks.
“The discussions on the Salary Review Commission are almost concluded through Cabinet and the Board shall be presented to Parliament in two weeks,” Muruli Mukasa said.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.