MPs directed the ministers of health and foreign affairs to halt a plan to export over 1000 health workers to Trinidad and Tobago, pending an assessment of the total workforce in the country
By Cyprian Musoke, Mary Karugaba and Henry Ssekanjako
MPs directed the ministers of health and foreign affairs to halt a plan to export over 1000 health workers to Trinidad and Tobago, pending an assessment of the total workforce in the country.
Kinkinzi East MP Dr. Chris Baryomunsi on Tuesday raised the red flag, complaining that the shortlist for the Medics is already out and over 300 have already been shortlisted after the internal advert. More, he said, are still queuing for the remaining slots.
Of these, Byorumunsi, said 93 were experts who have been manning Mulago National Referral Hospital.
“Imagine 90 senior medical cadres from Mulago! How can government export doctors when parliament has on several occasions complained about shortage of senior medical personnel?” Baryomunsi asked.
Dr. Merdad Bitekyerezo (Mbarara) amused MPs when he asked state minister for Regional Cooperation Asuman Kiyingi who will treat him in case he suffers heart attack.
“If there are no good doctors in Kamuli, who do you think will treat you when you get heart failure?”he said, sending MPs into laughter.
At this, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed the Health minister to submit a written explanation to Parliament on Thursday about the issue.
In an earlier meeting with senior technical staff in the health ministry, MPs on the health committee said that poor remuneration that is causing the exodus of experienced staff should be addressed.
Committee Chairman Kenneth Omona lamented that the health sector is already grappling with shortage of experienced staff yet it is dangerous to leave it in the hands of interns.
According to the internal advert in the Ministry of health and that of Foreign Affairs, applications are invited from expert medics to work in Trinidad and Tobago “to further bilateral relations between the two countries”.
“Those already within the civil service are particularly encouraged to apply,” the circular, which has already received overwhelming response, reads.
Bitekyerezo wondered why Trinidad and Tobago is promising attractive remuneration and houses to already employed staff instead of interns, which will further strain Uganda’s medical labour force.
Many MPs called for the improvement of the remuneration of Uganda’s medical force for retention.
The Committee Vice Chairperson Margaret Iriama called for the remuneration of interns, saying if remunerated well, with the numbers released from all the regional universities per year, they can be enough even export to other countries.
Among those required are 15 physicians, 20 psychologists, 20 radiologists, 15 paediatrics, 9 Ear Nose and Throat specialists, 4 anaethiastics, Ophthalmologists, 4 pathologists, 15 surgeons, eurologiststs, 15 orthopaedics, 15 gynaecologistst, 20 nursing officers, 100 registered midwives, and many more.
All these will be hired on renewable three year contracts for up to when they attain 55 years, get a fully furnished house. The circular was signed off by Ben Kumumanya as Acting Permanent Secretary.
The Director of Health Services who led the delegation to the committee Dr. Anthony Mbonye conceded that it was not wise to recruit people already in Public service despite the lack of better remuneration.
The director of planning in the health ministry Dr. Isaac Ezati said that the recruitment shows that Uganda needs to provide better working conditions and remuneration for its health staff.
Commissioner for Reproductive Health Dr. Singwire Collins said that government is planning to recentralise health services to accord better conditions compared to those under districts.
MPs demand export of health workers be halted