By Godfrey Olukya
KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) – Intern doctors in Uganda, who are sacked over their demand for salary increase, have sued senior government officials and health minister for their dismissal from government hospitals.
They have filed the suit with Kampala High Court through the doctors’ umbrella organizations, including the Federation for Uganda Medical Interns, Uganda Medical Association, and Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), non-profit research and advocacy organization.
In their petition, these doctors have pleaded to the court to restore their internship with the government hospitals, besides they claimed damages for the mental torture they suffered because of their sacking.
The secretary general of the Uganda Medical Association, Dr Hebert Luswata, confirmed the legal action and said on Friday, “Striking in Uganda is legal and therefore, sacking the (intern) doctors, who have been rightfully striking, is illegal.”
“That is why we have gone to court,” Dr Luswata told Anadolu Agency.
On Nov. 21, the intern doctors went on strike demanding better salaries and job conditions. They wanted their salaries to be raised from 750,000 Uganda shillings (approximately $214) to 2,500,000 Uganda shillings (approximately $714).
After failing to reach an agreement, the government sacked them and barred them from entering hospitals in which they have been serving.
Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Director General of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa, and Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng are made respondents in the petition.
Federation of Uganda Medical Interns Secretary General Dr Nabushawo Faith said they met with President Yoweri Museveni in May this year, who promised to increase their salaries. But, the promise has not yet been fulfilled.
Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development Henry Musasizi said suing the government was not necessary on the issue of their salaries.