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New Vision Online : Discussion Board

Stating the obvious! ….The fact that many of our doctors relocate to developing countries like our own means there is something Uganda is not addressing. This brain drain is embarrassing and debilitating. authored by Ddembe on 7. April 2009 at 01:41
Motivate doctors to stem brain drain

Monday, 6th April, 2009

The health minister has revealed that 13 senior surgeons left Uganda for Rwanda last year due to poor pay. South Africa employs 250 Ugandan doctors, Swaziland 10 and an unknown number of Ugandan doctors is scattered all over the southern African region like Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.

This is not to mention those in America and Western Europe. A consultant surgeon in Rwanda is paid between sh5m and sh9m while in Uganda such a consultant is paid a paltry sh1.5m. This is a recipe for disaster. It is not only doctors are ‘fleeing’ Uganda.

Recently, the education ministry of Rwanda shortlisted 62 Ugandans for teacher training jobs. This is a haemorrhage Uganda can ill-afford.

The fact that many of our doctors relocate to developing countries like our own means there is something Uganda is not addressing. This brain drain is embarrassing and debilitating at a time when the Government is putting a lot of emphasis on studying sciences.

Ugandan doctors and teachers need substantial incentives. The present gross monthly pay of sh550,000 for fresh medical graduates is unjustifiable considering the workload they are expected to shoulder and the time they spend at medical school and internship. The recommended doctor-patient ratio in a developing country like Uganda is 1:10,000 but at the moment that ratio is 1:24,725!

Even with the well-intentioned ‘Boona Bagaggawale’ (wealth for all programme) there is no way Uganda can eradicate poverty with that patient-doctor ratio since health is related to wealth. Poor pay is further complicated by inadequate drugs and diagnostic devices in the hospitals.

This is very frustrating and is partly responsible for the brain drain. Doctors and medical personnel in general need affirmative action to boost our health sector. The administrative costs of running political offices could be cut back to cater for the severe shortfall in our hospitals. We can do without some political offices but doctors and nurses spell the difference between life and death.

Editorial

Posted in: Health