Police have blocked medical interns from holding a press conference that will inform the public through the media about their predicament. The medical interns are pushing for deployment by the Ministry of Health.
The interns had gathered at Mulago guest house Monday morning, where they had called journalists to discuss the need for deployment to different medical facilities. However, they found that the police had cordoned off the area. This is not the first time that medical interns in Uganda have faced such challenges.
On April 11th, 2023, the same group had called for a press conference at the same venue and had planned to march to parliament to petition the speaker on their fate. The police also prevented this action.
Dr. Frank Asiimwe Rubabinda, the President of the Association of Surgeons of Uganda, stated during the April 11th press conference that it is evident that the government cannot handle the growing number of medical interns graduating from the increasing number of medical schools.
Over thirty internship sites were supposed to have received new interns by April 1st, 2023, but this has not yet happened due to issues with the training process, which the Ministry of Health is still consulting on. During the press conference on the current incident, police heavily deployed and arrested some of the medical interns at Mulago Guest House.
The interns had planned to move into two separate groups, with one group starting at the National Theatre in town and the other at Mulago to proceed to parliament. Police arrested twenty interns at Parliament Avenue and detained them at the Central Police Station in Kampala.
Others arrested from Mulago were detained at Wandegeya Police Station. Dr. Herbert Luswata, the Secretary-General of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), said that they had contacted their legal team to find out, which medical interns had been arrested and to process their release on bond.
Earlier, Dr. Addison Tumuhimbise, a representative of pre-interns from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), had warned that if the Ministry of Health does not release the internship lists soon, they will be forced to start their training with a strike.
Police had not responded to the arrest of the interns by the time of filing this story, as they were not picking up calls.