KAMPALA-- The proposal to replace Ugandan doctors with Cubans in far to reach medical facilities might not materialise very soon as it awaits Government's approval.

According to the Minister for Health, Dr. Ruth Aceng, cabinet has not yet made a final decision on the plan to import over 200 doctors from Cuba.

Cabinet has not yet approved this proposal, but even when it does, these Cuban doctors will deal with hard-to-reach rural areas and others will be recruited as specialists to train interns at a fee of $1500 (about sh5m) monthly, said Aceng.

She was responding to queries raised during a debate to scrutinize the health sector ministerial policy statement for the 2018/19 financial year.

In the recent past, media has been awash with a pros and cons public debate on whether Government should hire Cuban doctors to reinforce the native workforce especially in rural areas.

When we advertise for specialists to work in remote areas, no applications are submitted so what do we do? They all want to work here (urban centers) where they can juggle work in several private facilities, a behavior that is not possible in rural areas, she said.

During Labor Day celebrations early this month, President Yoweri Museveni revealed that he mothered the proposal to import the Cuban doctors because the Ugandan ones were striking and indiscipline.

However, the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) that led a strike last year, crippling health services for several weeks, insists that their demand for better pay and working conditions is legitimate.

Aceng reiterated government's commitment towards improving the health sector by recruiting and retaining specialists and medical officers whose salary will be enhanced in the next financial year.

The proposed enhanced salary structure indicates that, medical officers will earn Sh3.7m, while consultants will get Sh4.2m and senior consultants will earn Sh4.5m.



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