Doctors completing their medicine internships in the Maldives have requested President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to manage their financial difficulties.
In a letter sent to President Solih by 28 doctors completing their internship at state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) on November 18, they said that they faced financial challenges when the duration of their course got prolonged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While medicine-related courses are costly, most students are on student loans and have a lot of debt, it said. A significant amount is already being deducted every month for loan repayment, they noted.
The students said most countries, including regional countries, provide a salary or allowance to doctors completing their internship for the duration of their course. They said they signed for the Civil Service Commission's framework for General Medical Doctors, not knowing it included intern doctors. Therefore, they requested the president to arrange their salary and allowance under the framework for the period they worked and until their course is complete. As per the agreement, they do not receive pay for the duration of their internship.
The doctors further noted that they work for most of the day and have to arrange their meals out of pocket. This is a strain on their pockets as they do not get paid, and it is proving impossible to arrange another loan to manage the budget, they said. What they hope for is an arrangement that does not involve another loan, they wrote.
The President's Office has not responded to the letter thus far.
Doctors completing MBBS are required to complete a one-year internship before they are licensed.