Dr Margaret Mungherera, a long-serving medical practitioner has retired from civil service after 31 years. Mungherera, who has been a senior consultant psychiatrist at Mulago, revealed at a meeting in Kampala on Monday that her tenure had come to an end on June 30.
By Taddeo Bwambale
Dr Margaret Mungherera, a long-serving medical practitioner has retired from civil service after 31 years.
Mungherera, who has been a senior consultant psychiatrist at Mulago, revealed at a meeting in Kampala on Monday that her tenure had come to an end on June 30.
Known for her candid and passionate advocacy for the welfare of medical workers, she was until last year the president of the World Medical Association.
Prior to that role, she was the president of the Uganda Medical Association and has been a board member of many health organisations.
During the consultative meeting to review Uganda’s position on migration of health workers abroad, Mungherera pushed for better remuneration to attract and retain them.
“Health workers want better facilitation and recognition for their efforts. In East Africa, Ugandan medical workers are the worst-paid,” she lamented.
Mungherera said the current government funding priorities to the health sector were not motivating qualified professionals to work at home.
Reflecting on her experience, she said many skilled medical professionals are forced to seek employment abroad because of low pay and an unconducive environment.
“As a senior consultant, I was earning sh2.3m which was later raised to sh2.8m and catered for everything, including fuel for an old car I was given and paying for my driver, “she narrated.
“If I can earn that amount after working for over 30 years, how about those who are joining the field? That is why all seniors in the field have left and young people are on their own,” she said
Mungherera proposed that instead of demanding for a pay raise, medical workers should press for duty allowances to motivate them.
She blamed the low pay on a single spine salary structure adopted from the World Bank that created uniform pay across all professions, and the lack of a minimum wage.
Mungherera also lamented about political interference in the profession, citing the creation of parallel institutions she said duplicate the work of health institutions.
Health minister, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye said a study was underway to provide a comprehensive evaluation of what health workers will be paid in future and other non-monetary incentives.
Related to the story
Mungherera new World Medical Association boss
Mungherera wants village health teams regulated
KIU to award Zziwa, Mungherera honourary doctorate
Dr Mungherera retires from service