With only 12 neurosurgeons in Uganda, government urged to train more specialists

Government has been urged to invest in training more neurosurgeons as the country’s population continues to swell.

Speaking during a function to launch a free medical camp at ISBAT University in Kampala, Dr. Ekwaro Obuku, the Uganda Medical Association president said there is need for collaborative efforts to bridge the existing gap.

“The Uganda Heart Institute is highly ranked all over the world but it is understaffed. We have less than 15 neurosurgeons but we need more than 30 in number. Each of the 15 referrals all over the country ought to have at least one neurosurgeon,”Dr.Obuku said.

The Uganda Medical Association president said that because training neurosurgeons takes a lot of time, with such health camps, it would help build capacity for Uganda specialists but also help patients treated from experts.

He urged government to invest more in the heath sector which helps many people at ago other than wasting all the money in politics.

“Why invest in politics by increasing the allowance for MPs by 40% yet the health sector is still lacking and the country’s population is increasing day by day?  We need to train more doctors, nurses, midwives and other health professionals.”

“We need to collaborate more with other countries which are advanced in the medical field like India and will help train our specialists like neurosurgeons who are few.”

Dr.Obuku said there is need for a deliberate program like it is for the army and police recruitment to ensure increased supply of medical doctors, trained and well equipped to solve the health complications faced by the ever rising population in Uganda.

Dr.Ekwaro Obuku.

For example at Mulago hospital, a government facility, a CT scan costs about shs 120,000 while an MRI is about shs 750,000 in a private clinic but a private brain operation abroad costs between shs54m to shs 81m.

The Uganda Medical Association president said the cost for these specialised operations is still high because of there are few neurosurgeons but noted the cost can go down if the country increases its number of neurosurgeons.

According to Dr.Joy Varghese, the head of the neurosurgeon department at Apollo hospital in India, training a single neurosurgeon takes between 15 to 20 years making it difficult for many African countries to fulfil.

“It is not an easy task for many countries because it involves studying medicine for five years, then do internship and later specialise in a specific field. This takes a lot of time and this way, there are a few neurosurgeons,”Dr. Varghese said.

Haresh Kumar, the General Manager in charge of business development at ISBAT University said the free medical camp done in collaboration with Apollo University in India will enable unprivileged Ugandans get assistance especially in areas of oncology, neurosurgery and pediatric cardiology.

“We did it as our Corporate Social Responsibility to give back to communities but will also greatly benefit local doctors in continuing medical education and further research in the medical field,” Kumar said.

The free medical camp will run from April 30 to May 2 at ISBAT University premises along Lugogo bypass in Kampala.

 

 

 

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