SEMBABULE, UGANDA-- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has strongly defended his government's plan to recruit doctors from Cuba to serve in the country, saying he decided to call them in after "some of our own behaved badly".

Speaking during the national celebrations for International Labour Day in Sembabule district in southern Uganda on Tuesday, he said the "selfish" local doctors with "crooked behaviour" who incited their colleagues to go on strike, hence abandoning patients, had forced him to think of an option.

"During that period of blackmail, I said, 'If necessary, I will import doctors from Cuba to discipline these doctors with crooked behaviour'," he said.

Cuba has a reputation for having one of the best health systems in the world. The Caribbean island nation, once ruled by Fidel Castro and later his brother, Raul, provides more medical personnel to the developing world than all the member of the Group of 8 (G8) developed nations combined, according to reports.

The issue of importing Cuban doctors has been a divisive one, with critics vehemently voicing their resistance to it the plan, predominantly from the financial viewpoint.

Neighbouring Kenya has already announced that it is recruiting Cuban doctors with 100 set to arrive in the country next month.



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