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Poor pay forcing Ugandan doctors to flee to other countries

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Nov 26, 2021 - 09:59 AM

KAMPALA, Uganda – The Secretary-General of Uganda Medical Association, (UMA) said Thursday that every year 500 medical doctors qualify from universities but most move out of the country to work where they can be paid well.

Hebert Luswata told Anadolu Agency that the government does not recruit most doctors, claiming it does not have money to pay them.

“The government employs only 1,600 doctors, yet there are 4,000 vacant posts in government hospitals lacking doctors,” he said.

Luswata said there are more than 2,700 in Uganda but they are not employed and are planning to move to other countries, most likely the UK, US, Kenya, Rwanda and Botswana.

Hundreds of doctors and other health care workers move from Uganda every year after qualifying in universities and health education institutions for greener pastures in developed countries.

Health practitioners and advocates have expressed concern about the trend because of the failure of the government to absorb them into service and poor working conditions in Uganda.

The concerns are amplified at a time when doctors in Uganda are on strike, demanding better salaries.

Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), Francis Omaswa, said the government must intervene to halt international recruitment of health personnel from Uganda to control the brain drain of key medical specialists.

“Due to the global shortage of health workers, estimated at 18 million by 2030, there is fierce competition to fill the gaps with rich nations scrambling for available health workers through unregulated recruitment and clandestine migrations, leaving poor nations like Uganda at a disadvantage,” he said.

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