CSOs Demand Inquiry into Planned Export of Medical Personnel

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

Activists under the umbrella ‘Civil Society Coalition to Stop Maternal Mortality in Uganda' have called for the termination of a plan to export medical personnel to Trinidad and Tobago. The coalition said the plan will increase Uganda's disease burden. 

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

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

The list shows that required 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.

But Kateera said Parliament needs to set up a commission of inquiry into the planned exportation of health workers.

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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.

The President, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union, Janet Obuni called for a critical analysis of the health human resource before extending help to other countries and leaving the country's population vulnerable.

Obuni said that patients need individualized care which calls for an adequate number of nurses in the health sector.
 
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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 said.

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About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.