200 health specialists quit over poor pay

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Minister Aceng

There is urgent need to improve remuneration of health specialists to attract them to return and work in medical facilities in the country.

The Minister for Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, has told MPs on the Committee of National Economy that there are many health workers who have been trained with specialist skills and have left the country to take on jobs in health sectors in other countries that offer better salary.

“I lobbied before that specialists should be paid better, because they had exited all our hospitals. I provided evidence showing that we had lost over 200 specialists in six months alone,” said Aceng.

Dr. Aceng was meeting MPs to give a status update on loans approved by Parliament to the Health Ministry as at 30 June 2019.

The loans were meant to fund among other projects, the Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal hospital, Mulago Hospital and Kampala Capital City Authority project.

She said that remuneration of health specialists needs to be improved in order for the country to retain specialists to run the infrastructure being set up, including the Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal hospital.

 “A few of these specialists came back when their salary was raised to Shs7 million but they are not yet convinced with this pay, given the skills they have,” Aceng added.

Hon. Bernard Atiku (IND, Ayivu County) asked the Minister to clarify on the status of completion of the remaining 10 per cent of the Mulago hospital extension, noting that the Minister had requested Parliament to approve US$9.5 million for the purpose.

MPs on the Committee chaired by Hon. Syda Bbumba advised the Health Ministry to publicize the services offered at the new Mulago Specialized hospital, which ably favour an average Ugandan.

The Minister assured MPs that the process to avail funding to complete the Mulago Specialist Hospital project was on course and would be completed by December.

She added that Ugandan doctors trained to perform specialized operations were available but still lacked specialized operating theatres to execute their work.

“The specialists came to me and told me how they are more than ready to begin the first kidney transplant but have no work area. A transplant cannot be done in any place, but only in special theatres that have already been designed,” Aceng said.

She said that the project outstanding commitments valued at US$2.8 million included among others medical furniture for Mulago hospital, civil works for Kawempe and Kiruddu hospitals as well as salary for long term technical assistance.

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