Uganda Intern doctors fight COVID-19
Uganda intern doctors call for protective gear in treating COVID-19 patients. PHOTO/NILE POST

COVID-19: Uganda intern doctors ask the government to provide them with PPE to avoid the risk of contracting Coronavirus disease

Intern doctors under their umbrella the Federation for Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) have asked the government to provide them with personal protective equipment (PPE) to use when handling patients, particularly during this COVID-19 period.

Intern doctors say most of the health facilities where they are attached to have no medical equipment like gloves, masks for them to use while handling patients hence exposing them to the risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus.

The Chairperson of the Welfare Dr Herbert Luswata says most hospitals where the medical interns are operating have no protective gears like gloves and masks to use while handling the patients.

Federation for Uganda Medical Interns has tasked government to provide them with medical equipment otherwise they risk to be attacked by the deadly coronavirus.

Secretary-General FUMI, Dr Joel Mirembe says the hospitals where they are attached to have no protective gears and in his plea, he asked the government to get some of the COVID-19 donations to support medical interns.

“Liquidate some of the assets that have been donated, and turn them into money that can support the health workers and the vulnerable people. That government locally manufactures and provides freely masks to all health workers,” Mirembe said.

Dr Herbert Luswata, the Chairperson Welfare FUMI in his remarks asked the Ministry of Health to at least provide interns with gloves and masks because they are unable to purchase them for themselves.

“We request the Ministry of Health through National Medical Stores (NMS) to provide personal protective equipment enough to the internship site because interns cannot afford to buy this personal protective equipment. At least a face mask and gloves for themselves,” Luswata said.

Uganda Intern doctors fight COVID-19
Uganda intern doctors call for protective gear in treating COVID-19 patients. PHOTO/NILE POST

In his message, Luswata, says most of the patients they are handling in this period are suffering from Malaria and flu-like symptoms which they did not know whether they are COVID-19 related or not.

“In the hospital settings almost more than 50 per cent of all our patients present with fever and yet we luck the test kit to be able to test and rule out coronavirus in these patients. Meaning they are all potential patients of COVID-19 and the only thing that’s left for us to be safe, is the use of this personal protective equipment,” Luswata said.

He says intern doctors have decided to stay home instead of risking their lives because the prevailing working environment in state-owned health facilities is not safe for them.

Medical interns have decided to stay home if the government cannot provide them with PPE according to Luswata which is going to affect the health centres where these interns are serving.

Further, Luswata asked the government to consider increasing their salaries and also give them a salary scale as requested in their petition.

And also release their salaries for March 2020 to facilitate them during this lockdown period.

“We ask Parliament to look into the matter of increasing our salaries and give us a salary scale as requested in our petition. We also request the ministry of health to release the salary for the interns for March, so that it can enable them to go through the tough times of the lockdown where almost each and everything is very expensive and life is becoming very tough and maybe when this salary is released, things will come down a bit,” Luswata appealed.