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Shortage of doctors to slow down development â€" health minister

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th January 2009 03:00 AM

UGANDA should address the shortage of health workers if it is to attain the Millennium Development Goals, the health minister, Dr. Stephen Mallinga, has said.

UGANDA should address the shortage of health workers if it is to attain the Millennium Development Goals, the health minister, Dr. Stephen Mallinga, has said.

By Francis Kagolo

UGANDA should address the shortage of health workers if it is to attain the Millennium Development Goals, the health minister, Dr. Stephen Mallinga, has said.

Mallinga said the health sector’s human resource, is crucial in improving health services.

“Diseases like meningitis and ebola present serious health demands. There is need to train more health workers,” he said.

In a speech read by the director for clinical services in the health ministry, Dr. Nathan Kenya-Mugisha, Mallinga said: “It is disturbing to note that Africa has 24% of the global disease burden, but has only 3% of the world’s health workers.”

This was during the sixth graduation ceremony for the Aga Khan University at Kampala Serena Hotel on Saturday.

The High Level Forum 2004 for MDGs estimates that 2.5 health staff are needed per 1,000 population. In Uganda, this ratio is 1.5 staff per 1,000 people.
This means the country has a deficit of one staff per 1,000 people.

According to the health ministry, Uganda will require more than 26,700 additional health workers for its current population.
Apart from staff shortage, Uganda faces severe mal distribution of staff.

The European Union Human Resource for Health Project analysed the 2002 housing and population census and found that 73% of doctors are in the central region alone. Of these, 64% are in Kampala city, which means that Kampala takes 46% of the country’s doctors.

The study shows that there are 59.3% doctors per 100,000 urban people, compared to 3.3 doctors per 100,000 rural people. The situation for nurses and midwives is similar but not as drastic.

During the graduation, 113 enrolled and registered nurses from public, private and faith-based health institutions across the country received diplomas and degrees in nursing.

The minister said there was need to strengthen health systems through the development of competent nurses and midwives.

“We need to train more than one million health professionals in Sub-Saharan Africa in the next 10 years in order to strengthen our health systems and to meet the health related MDGs.”

Firoz Rasul, the head of the 25-year-old university, said the institution would over the next ten years, devote more funds to improve tertiary education in East Africa.

The university is in the process of establishing a faculty of health sciences in Nairobi, Kenya and of arts and sciences in Arusha, Tanzania.

Rasul said, the university would introduce a diploma in accident, emergency and disaster management.

Shortage of doctors to slow down development — health minister

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