MINISTER of state for foreign affairs Okello Oryem has described the kerfuffle over plans by government to send 268 workers to Trinidad and Tobago as misplaced
By Moses Walubiri
MINISTER of State for foreign affairs Okello Oryem has described the kerfuffle over plans by government to send 268 workers to Trinidad and Tobago as misplaced.
Meeting lawmakers on foreign affairs committee on Tuesday, Oryem, with permanent secretary James Mugume and a number of technocrats in tow said Uganda stands to benefit from 'export' of its medical personnel to the tiny oil rich Caribbean nation.
"The plan was to send health workers to Trinidad for two years, gain experience in top notch health care, come back and be replaced by another batch. But the matter has unfortunately taken a twist we never anticipated," Oryem said.
Oryem said that between 3000 and 4000 medical personnel graduate from Uganda's education institution, with hardly half of these getting absorbed in public service.
"As a ministry it's one of our cardinal roles to find opportunities for Ugandans. And that is the rationale behind this initiative with Trinidad and Tobago," Oryem said.
Admitting that thousands of Ugandan health workers leave the country for greener pastures every year, Oryem faulted the rationale for the uproar that has been spawned by the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Uganda and Trinidad and Tobago saying it does not make sense.
Early this month, Civil Society Organizations and donors raised a red flag over the mooted export of health workers to Trinidad saying it would hamstring Uganda's health sector in terms of worsening maternal mortality rate.
Belgium at some point withheld aid meant for Uganda's health sector until government proffered an explanation about its MoU with Trinidad.
In a petition to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga last week, Civil Society organizations called upon parliament to pull the plug on the MoU.
Kadaga said government should consider 'exporting' retired health workers, instead of depriving public hospitals of essential personnel in their prime.
A cabinet paper on the matter, Oryem revealed, is expected as the executive considers its options over a matter that has set tongues wagging.
Oryem supports export of medics to Trinidad