The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng made the clarification that the plans to recruit Cuban doctors have not been approved by Cabinet during a Parliament sitting on Tuesday, 15 May 2018.
The media has been awash with reports on recruitment of Cuban doctors after President Museveni announced on Labour Day that Uganda will undertake the process to recruit Cuban specialists following continued strikes by Ugandan doctors.
She added that even if approved, the Cuban doctors will be recruited as specialists to train interns and work in rural areas. She also clarified that each specialist will earn USD1,500 monthly.
“When the Health Service Commission advertises for specialists, no applications are submitted because Ugandan specialists do not want to live and work in remote areas,” said Aceng adding that, “In the urban centres, these specialists have the liberty to work in several private facilities while this is not possible if they in rural areas”. Aceng.
She reiterated government’s commitment towards improving the health sector by recruiting and retaining specialists.
Aceng said that government has enhanced the salaries of specialists and medical officers in the 2018/2019 financial year.
According to the new salary structure, medical officers will earn Shs 3.7 million up from Shs1.9 million, while consultants will earn Shs 4.2 up from Shs 2.6 million and senior consultants will earn Shs 4.5 million up from Shs 3.4 million.
Members of Parliament, however, raised concern over the recurrent drug stock outs and lack of equipment as well as shortage of health workers in health facilities.
Hon. Robert Musoke (NRM, Budiope West County) blamed the absenteeism of health workers in health centres on the absence of drugs and equipment.
“Even if we push for recruitment of more health workers, without equipment and drugs, the patients will not be attended to,” said Musoke.
Hon. Jack Wamai Wamanga (FDC, Mbale Municipality) urged government to implement the Abuja Declaration, which directed governments to appropriate 15 per cent of their budgets to the health sector.
“Government should stop spending colossal sums of money on fueling cars of ministers who do not even attend plenary sessions and instead save our people,” said Wamanga.
Hon. Charles Angiro Gutomoi (FDC, Erute County North) called for a policy review to improve regional referral hospitals to cater for the increasing population.
“Government needs to increase on the drug supplies in regional referral hospitals and create three more regional referral hospitals.,” said Gutomoi.