Moses Kabangi, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Environmental Health has been interdicted over allegations of soliciting money from medical interns with the promise of deploying them in favourable hospitals.
The Senior Public Relations in the Ministry of Health (MOH), Emmanuel Ainebyoona, explained that the commissioner had been cited together with a clique of medical interns with whom they were allegedly working to fleece unsuspecting young doctors. This revelation comes amidst an ongoing investigation into this rot launched by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit last week. Five medical interns from Mulago National Referral hospital, Soroti, Mukono and Kitovu hospitals are expected to appear for interrogation today (Monday).
According to a letter written by Dr. Joseph Okware on behalf of Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services, the unit summoned thirty-nine interns deployed at sites across the country to understand circumstances surrounding their deployment with heightening allegations of extortion, influence peddling, and unethical behavior by some officials.
These hearings are set to end on Tuesday and according to Dr Bill Adrati, the President of the Federation of Uganda Medical Interns, this investigation comes in handy suggesting that many of his colleagues have been victims. He cites the latest deployment, which came after a protracted rift and a series of protests due to delays as one of the examples where the exercise was allegedly used to punish activist doctors who engaged in the demonstrations.
Adrati who is currently interning at Anaka Hospital in the Nwoya district, says that the majority of members of his taskforce were deployed in hard- to – reach areas. For him, while the ministry has always maintained that the process is random and fluid, it needs to be clear, what exact criteria are used to deploy.
On his part, Dr Herbert Luswata, the President of the Uganda Medical Association said that when they received information that medical interns had been summoned, they got in touch with officials in the Ministry of Health to seek clarity on whether the invited interns were suspects in the said extortion or not.
Meanwhile, Adrati says he had also earlier gotten in touch with the Ministry to inquire about the facilitation of medical interns before the anti-corruption unit but couldn’t get any responses from the top officials including the Director General of Health Services and Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine.