A Call for Implementation of Fixed Overtime and Medical Aid for Medical Interns 2021

A Call for Implementation of Fixed Overtime and Medical Aid for Medical Interns 2021

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Medical Interns 2021 started this petition to Office of the Minister of Health and Social Services and

The current corona virus (Covid-19) global pandemic has illustrated how pertinent health is. Health is wealth and if an individual is not healthy, they are unable to function effectively and efficiently in society. Medical doctors are deemed Frontline workers during this pandemic, yet there is no form of protection in terms of medical aid coverage. The pandemic has brought along tedious amount of work for all healthcare professionals in addition to the existing workload. Health professionals, especially medical interns work tirelessly around the clock in an attempt to serve and treat both patients infected with the deadly Covid-19 virus and also patients requiring medical attention for other conditions. Working for extended period of time is exhausting not only physically, but emotionally, psychologically and spiritually too, especially during these trying times.

Furthermore, the ongoing issue with the of lack of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) continuously puts the medical interns at high risk of contracting Covid-19 and other infectious conditions. It is fact that medical personnel including medical interns are increasingly contracting the virus while on duty, which requires medical attention however personal funds are used to cover medical bills due to no medical aid coverage.

Medical interns receive an allowance based on the belief they work a total of 40 hours per week as a requirement from the governing body of the internship program and the Health Professionals Council of Namibia (HPCNA), which are 8 hours a day, as per the Placement Agreement for Internship Training (2.4.4). With that stated, the average hours medical interns actually cover are a minimum of three calls per week on average and more often than not works on weekends as well. All these hours exceed a normal 40 hour working week, and according to the Employees Compensation Act 1941 (act 30 of 1941) it is mandatory that work done outside, what is considered normal working hours, is compensated for. Unfortunately this is not the case in the Placement Agreement for Internship Training contract.

It has been brought to attention that medical interns do not suite the government definition of what an employee is and do not qualify for the benefits of said employees. Medical graduates are defined as “Graduates given the opportunity to complete a mandatory internship program”. Nonetheless, comparing the current internship policy with temporary positions at the MOHSS, such as the COVID jobs (who are referred to as health professionals officers) one would realize that individuals who work the latter job are granted access to these benefits, as per the contract, such as overtime, transport allowance and accommodation allowance to mention a few, whereas medical interns do not have that privilege. Additionally, the hours worked for the MOHSS COVID jobs is much less than that of a medical intern; they work 45 hours per week and have the advantage of claiming hours worked on weekend as overtime.

We hereby firstly request that the tireless hours of work which are beyond the hours stipulated in the policy and the continuous sacrifice for the country of Namibia and its people by interns is compensated with fixed overtime, as per the labour act. Secondly, that the medical interns are granted the medical aid coverage.

In conclusion, the 109 newly placed medical interns are ready and willing to serve the people in accordance to the Hippocratic oath taken. However, it is important to ensure that all stakeholders involving patients to their doctors are covered adequately to allow effective work. Unfortunately, interns are unwilling to put their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their patients and loved ones at risk if the stated needs are not met and will therefor not sign the contract that is currently implemented.

Appreciate your time and assistance. Looking forward to a positive response.

Regards,

Yours in Health

Medical Interns 2021

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