Uganda CSOs oppose doctor exportation


OPPOSES PLANNED DOCTOR EXPORTATION:Ugandan Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga


Ugandan civil society activists are pushing the Ugandan government to halt a plan to export medical personnel to Trinidad and Tobago saying that it move will be detrimental to the country’s health system.

The activists under the umbrella Civil Society Coalition to Stop Maternal Mortality in Uganda say the plan will increase Uganda’s disease burden.

“The planned export is a major blow to Uganda’s ailing health sector. The government should instead increase the wage bill to recruit at least 2400 additional health workers in the coming financial year,” Justinian Muhwezi Kateera, the Executive Director of the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), a member of the coalition, noted.

The coalition petitioned the Ugandan parliament following a call for applications issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 263 qualified health workers to join the service of the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

The list shows that required health workers are; 15 internal medicine specialists, 4 Psychiatrists, 20 Radiologists, 15 Pediatricians, 4 Ear, Nose and Throat specialists, 100 Registered Midwives, 4 Anesthetists, 4 ophthalmologists, 40 Public Health Nurses and 100 Midwives and other specialists.Kateera said Parliament needs to set up a commission of inquiry into the planned exportation of health workers.

Sam Senfuka, a Project Officer with White Ribbon Alliance-Uganda said that the plan to export 100 midwives will deprive 900,000 mothers of critically needed maternal care.

“There is need for a critical analysis of the health human resource before extending help to other countries and leaving the country’s population vulnerable.

Patients need individualized care which calls for an adequate number of nurses in the health sector, Janet Obuni the President, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union, said.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said the plan is a contradiction of policy in a country which has failed to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 and 5 partly because of a shortage in health personnel.

“Sometime back I directed the government to come and explain what is happening because we hear, we read in the press but no one has come to Parliament to explain to the country what is happening. I do not know the context of our joint permanent commission between us and Trinidad and Tobago because that is something we ought to have agreed about”, Kadaga added.

According to reports, in 2013 Uganda had the ratio of nurses to patient estimated at 1 to 11.000 people, while the doctor to patient ratio stood at 1 to 24.725, yet the World Health Organisation (WHO) puts the ratio of doctor to patient at 1 to 1000.