A female intern doctor at Kabale Referral Hospital was subjected to a horrifying incident involving an attack, robbery, and sexual assault while she was en route to the hospital.
This disturbing event is just one in a series of criminal activities targeting medical interns in the area.
In a letter addressed to the Federation for Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI), a group of 20 doctors, 16 nurses, and 4 pharmacists shared the harrowing experiences they have endured during their initial month of internship.
These distressing incidents include a male intern who was attacked and robbed in his rented accommodation and two female interns whose padlocks were tampered with, although they managed to prevent a robbery through loud screams for help.
In addition to the physical and sexual assaults, the interns have raised concerns about the lack of security and appropriate accommodation facilities provided to them.
They have pointed out the irony of a well-equipped intern complex situated in close proximity to the hospital gate, which remains inaccessible to them due to ongoing negotiations with the contractor.
The interns expressed their frustration, stating, “It is even more painful to inform you that as all this goes on, each day as we come from our distant, insecure, sorry state places of residence to serve our patients, we pass by a complete magnificent intern complex just a stone’s throw away from the main hospital gate.”
In light of these challenges, the interns are urgently calling for action to ensure their safety and the efficient delivery of healthcare services to patients. They maintain hope that the doors to the intern complex will be opened to them before they become victims of further criminal activities.
In response to their plea, Dr. Bill Adrati, President of FUMI, stressed the necessity for immediate intervention from local, regional, and national authorities to address the security and accommodation issues faced by medical interns.
He called for an urgent security meeting involving relevant parties to enhance surveillance, patrols, and the provision of armed security in the hospital’s vicinity.
Dr. Adrati also emphasized the need for secure transport for medical interns, particularly those working night shifts, as an immediate temporary solution while the process of relocating them to the intern complex is expedited.
Furthermore, Dr. Adrati urged the government to intervene in resolving the funding gap and disagreements between the contractor and hospital administration. He requested that authorities grant medical interns access to the intern mess while the government works to resolve the issues impeding the contractor from handing over the complex.
Finally, he appealed to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development to consider monthly allowances for medical interns, as delays and insufficient allowances often force them to seek distant and less safe accommodations.