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Outcry Over Delayed pay for Medical Interns

Interns who have been deployed to work as Clinical officers in county and sub county hospitals are accusing Ministry of Health for delay in payment of their allowances.

The interns, who have been working since May this year, claim that they have not received any payment for the Ministry subjecting them to suffering.

Led by their national officials, the medical interns argue that they have been living by borrowing money from their family members and friends.

Their national Chairman Alexander Mungai speaking in Murang’a on Wednesday said that the government allocated money for their allowances in this year’s budget wondering why the ministry of health is taking long to pay them.

“Sh4.2 billion was factored in the current financial budget and up to now we have not received any payment,” stated Mungai.

Their predicaments, he added have been raised to the Public Service Commission (PSC) which recruited and deployed them to work in rural hospitals.

The PSC, Munagi noted, has directed them to raise the matter with the Ministry of Health but some directors were reluctant to act on the directive about their payment.

The chairman observed that senior directors at Ministry of Health have been a stumbling block whom should be blamed over lack of payment to 1, 978 health care providers.

He said they would call for a national strike so as to push the government to remit their 5-month dues.

“The medical interns work like other employed health workers. From morning to night but they have no money to meet their daily expenses,” noted Mungai.

Association’s Secretary General Edwin Ayuka said diplomacy has failed, with medical superintendents intimidating members when they threaten to hold strike.

“It’s only Kakamega county government that has appreciated the members posted there with a little token,” said the secretary general.

The Universal Health Care programme, he added, required involvement of the clinicians.

Samuel Waweru on his part said lack of finances has exposed the members to gangs when walking home during the night.

“After 11 pm, the members due to lack of money, are forced to walk home and some have been victims of thuggery,” said Waweru.

The intern programme helps the students get experience while waiting to get professional licenses from regulatory bodies.

In a rejoinder, Ministry of Health Acting Director General Dr. John Wekesa Masasabi downplayed the claims saying they have not been denied their allowances.

Masasabi said the interns were not on the ministry’s establishment, and payment should be approved by Public Service Commission.

“We have developed an internship policy and also sought for authority to from PSC to create the establishment since there is a budget,” said the director general.

By Bernard Munyao

 

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