Interns at Al-Sabbah children’s hospital lay down tools

Interns  at Al-Sabbah children’s hospital lay down tools

Medical interns at Al-Sabbah Children Hospital in Juba have gone on strike demanding incentives.

On November 1, the interns petitioned the Medical Director at the hospital demanding COVID-19 risk allowances and monthly incentives where they gave 72 hours for action.

According to the document seen by The City Review, the interns raised concerns about the unfavourable working conditions within the hospital.

They claimed that they encountered numerous challenges among them non-payment of their monthly incentives.

One of the interns who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal said they had been posted from the ministry to train at the facility.

“We are here working without any good conditions. We don’t have accommodation, incentives, allowances and even the risk allowances for COVID-19 were not given yet other facilities are given,” the person said.

The source said they had given the hospital 72 hours, which began last Tuesday and ended last  Friday, but the hospital had not replied.

“We decided to lay down our tools since Friday and up to now, we are still on strike until our demands are solved.’’

The intern said they started working at the children’s hospital in September 2021, and since then, they are not given transport, lunch, water, and food.

“I just have to work on my own yet I am given seven days to work daily and even sometimes I have three days [where I spend] 24 hours on the duty.

“For us to give effective services, we need to be supported and we don’t even have any source of income. How far will that be for someone to complete 17 months that are approved by the medical council for an intern to undergo training? we can’t do this it is hostile.”

The intern said they could not continue working without health insurance and food, yet they are exposed to health hazards such as the COVID-19, HIV/AIDs among other diseases.

No reasons given

Joy, (not real name) said they did not know the reason why they were not being given incentives and that whenever they raised the issues they were being told that they are just interns.

“Yet most of the work is being done by us as the intern clinical officers and not the doctors,” she protested.

Joy said she started doing the training at the facility in January but has never received any support.

“We were not informed about payment [but] it does not mean that we should just work without being given support and stay hungry yet we use our transport,” she said

Another striking clinical officer said he started his internship at the children’s hospital a month ago although he had already trained at Juba Teaching Hospital where they had been receiving incentives.

The clinical officer advised the government to make the budget to be the same for all the frontline health care workers in the country.

“At the Al-Sabbah Hospital, we need them to provide food, transportation allowance for daily shifts both in the evening and day time, an amount of SSP 50,000 so that it can cover up day and night shift at SSP25,000 each for day and night.”

When contacted, a senior medical official at Al-Sabah Children’s Hospital who sought anonymity confirmed the strike but said he was not authorised to make any official statement to the media.

The hospital has a total of 76 interns where 16 medical are attached to medical departments while are 60 clinical interns.