MUBENDE: 34 Ebola doctors declare strike over lack of protective gear

One of the doctors approached for a comment said that the management led by hospital Director Dr Emmanuel Batibwe is now using intimidation and threats to keep them working against their will.

MUBENDE, UGANDA: A group of 34 medical Intern Doctors treating Ebola patients at Mubende regional referral hospital have gone on strike protesting government’s failure to get them personal protective equipment.

One of the doctors we spoke to who asked to be kept anonymous revealed that they have all been somewhat exposed to the deadly virus already and are fearing for their lives.

“We were denied PPE’s because they said we are not staff. Because each ward has lost a patient, we haven’t confirmed for obstetrics but all of us have lost patients and we share one room so we are always going back to that room.”

“The people who have been supervising us are tasked to do other things. they are actively participating in the epidemic, for us we are left without supervision and then at any one time you can make a mistake and you end up contracting the virus.”

Threats and intimidation

The Intern Doctor revealed that the hospital management led by hospital Director Dr Emmanuel Batibwe is now using intimidation and threats to keep them working against their will.

“He (Batibwe) said we are not supposed to get out this information. We are living under intimidation. Those people at the ministry of health say if we don’t stay here we may lose the 6 months of our internship”

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Doctor Lilian Nabwire, the former president of medical Interns in Uganda says it is absurd that the trainee doctors are being treated this way yet they are on the frontline.

“The same things happened during covid 19, they would force us interns to go into the ward even when doctors refused, they would be forced. I have spoken to one of the intern doctors at Mubende and they have told me that they are now also being forced to enter the treatment wards.”

Nabwire says because of the lack of experience handling a highly infectious and dealy virus like ebola, the doctors are bound to get scared.

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“Doctors are human beings too, nobody can get used to death. They need counseling and training not the threats and intimidation they are getting by the hospital leadership.”

Uganda declared an outbreak of ebola in Mubende district on Tuesday with the death toll now at 23

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