Doctors under the Uganda medical Association have protested the move by government to recruit over 200 Cuban doctors yet there are many Ugandan specialists.
Uganda Medical Association Chairperson, Dr. Obuku Ekwaro, says they have not yet understood the details of this importation of 200 Cuban doctors.
“We are interested in competing for equal pay with the Cuban doctors. We are excited that somehow government has discovered money to pay more than 200 Cuban doctors,” he said while appearing on NBS television.
He added: “Imagine government hardly invests in the very many doctors and specialists (about 100) Uganda channels out every year.”
Obuku said they are not opposed to importing Cuban doctors because this gives them a learning and competition advantage, issue is priority setting.
“We have super talent in Uganda but are they going to get a competing advantage? Are Cuban doctors going to be operating under the same conditions like lack of supplies, equipment, skills mix, doctors have to run around hospitals doing everything.”
He went on: “We have Ugandan talent here that isn’t being recruited. Ministry of Health is trying to depict that there is a gap in rural hospitals but the solution is internal. There are still challenges with recruitment.”
Elly Karuhanga, a lawyer and businessman, says Uganda is a third world country where politics is more popular than wealth, even in the media.
“I am sure even now you are so bored with us because we are talking oil, you would be happier if it was the issue of Cuban doctors,” Karuhanga said while appearing on NTV “On The Spot” programme.
According to former presidential candidate and seasoned medical doctor, Dr Kizza Besigye, “they (government) are killing the cow they are supposed to be milking…”
“If the government of Rwanda can pay Ugandan doctors well, why can’t the Ugandan government that trained them pay them well?”
According to Dr Besigye, the whole public healthcare system is in total shambles and “its right from the way we train public health workers, how we facilitate them and how we reward them, the doctors and public healthcare providers have been protesting”.
“You have seen from all media that we are borrowing to pay salaries, that’s how bad things are. I think there is an anticipation that there is going to a dispute again in the public health sector and in that anticipation, they want to blackmail the Ugandan doctors that if you don’t do what government wants, they can bring others.”