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Health Minister Refutes Finance Ministry Report On Medical Interns

The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng (pictured) has refuted a statement by the Ministry of Finance regarding the release of 22.9 billion Shillings to cater for payment and deployment of 1,900 medical interns.

This followed a report to parliament by the Minister of State for Finance- General Duties, Henry Musasizi in which he said that a funding gap of 22 billion Shilling for medical interns had been released to the Ministry of Health.

“I want to confirm that the cash limit was issued to the Ministry of Health and cash has also been given. Madam Speaker, I wish to inform this House that I am very happy that now we will have all the money to close the financial year and it has come late…implying that we shall not close until 30th June,” the Minister noted.

This statement by Musasizi followed an inquiry from Speaker, Anita Among in regard to the payment and deployment of 1,900 medical interns.

“I am requesting that these interns that we promised on Budget day should be paid and deployed. I am yet to hear from the Minister of Finance…how far? If you pay for somebody for four years and doesn’t go through internship…that person cannot practice as a doctor. Let’s help these people, they need to do internship,” said the Speaker.

She added that government also needs to have a plan for the 4,000 incoming interns. Now after the Finance State Minister assured the House about the release of funds for this purposely, the Health Minister later appeared on the floor saying that the 22.9 billion received by her Minister is not for deployment of the current interns.

She said that the money is for payment of arrears for 935 interns who has completed internship in April 2023. “They had finished internship before they had gotten their payments and also the Senior House Officers (SHOs) who are continuing, who had not been paid for a period of four months. So, the 22.9 billion is to pay for their arrears,” clarified Dr. Aceng.

She further told the House that for the 1,901 interns, her Ministry requires 80.4 billion Shillings to deploy them and that out of this money, the Ministry of Finance provided 8 billion for interns and 2 billion for the Senior House Officers.

“So, we are not able to deploy until we are sure that the 80.4 billion will be provided. Rt. Honorable Speaker, that is the correct position,” Dr. Aceng explained.

The revelation raised more questions from MPs and Rakaia Woman MP, Juliet Kyinyamatama Suubi tasked Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to explain the fate of the 1,900 interns that are yet to be deployed and paid.

In response, Nabbanja told Parliament that she had constituted an inter-ministerial committee this month to handle the issue of interns. She requested for two weeks to report back on the issue and Speaker Among granted her request.


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