The government is considering a plan by the Health ministry to bring in 200 doctors from Cuba and hire retired Ugandan medical professors to plug manpower gaps in Uganda.
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The proposal was mooted at the height of the Doc’s industrial action and Cabinet discussed and gave it the green light.
Highly-placed government sources that asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said the Cabinet constituted an ad hoc committee chaired by Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng to work out the finer details of the deal.
The committee’s report is, among other things, expected to clarify the terms of engagement of the Cuban doctors, the expertise required, remuneration and relations with Ugandan peers in order to inform Cabinet’s final decision.
“It (hiring of Cubans) can’t be done as if it’s against local doctors. We don’t want the two to conflict. We want doctors from outside to complement [the work] Ugandan doctors,” another Cabinet source said.
Health ministry officials, according to sources with familiar deliberations in Cabinet, had presented the plan as one under which they would replace striking doctors with Cuban counterparts.
They were opposed by some Cabinet colleagues who argued that such an arrangement would not be tenable in the long run, with one senior minister arguing that “we should concentrate more on what we have at home”.
Our investigations show that contact has been made between the highest levels of Ugandan and Cuban government, underlining the importance that Kampala attaches to the proposal.
After three weeks, the medical workers suspended their strike on November 25 to give the government time to make good on its promises including Shs5m as starting monthly salary for doctors, Shs41b supplementary budget for medicines and other supplies, revising the Senior House Officers and Internship policies and providing on-duty facilitation allowance
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