Ugandan medics protest government’s move to employ Cuban doctors

Kenneth Kazibwe

Kenneth Kazibwe

, News

Medics under the Uganda Medical Association have warned government against the planned move to employ a number of Cuban doctors in various health facilities in the country.

Recently, the ministry for Health revealed plans to hire 200 Cuban medical doctors with the intent of filling the gap of inadequate medical specialists in the country.

However, according to Uganda Medical Association, the move by government is suicidal because the desired target might not be achieved.

“We await from the government, the exact gap to be addressed by the Cuban doctor solution. We shall engage the state to find out where exactly they are to be deployed,” UMA president Dr Ekwaro Obuku told journalists on Wednesday.

He wondered, “Why can’t the health ministry advertise the 200 jobs and see if there are specialised local doctors to fill those gaps before bringing in those from Cuba?”

According to the Minister for Public Service, Muruli Mukasa, the Cuban doctors will be deployed in regional referral hospitals where there is a shortage of specialists.

“In many regional referral hospitals, there are no specialists because our doctors don’t want to go there,”Mukasa said last week.

Accordingly, he said, each of the Cubans will be paid $1500 per month which is roughly Shs 5.4 million whereas the local doctors earn between one million shillings to 4.5 million depending on experience and specialisation.

However, UMA insists the Cuban doctors will not be able to work considering the conditions in the health facilities where they are being sent to.

“They will also not manage. Ugandan doctors with the same specialty don’t go to those hard to reach areas because there are no facilities and this was one of the reasons for our industrial strike last year,”Dr.Obuku said.

The medics urged government to enforce the Buy Uganda Build Uganda initiative -by employing and giving the fat salaries to local doctors other than those from Cuba.

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