(KAMPALA) Civil society groups yesterday petitioned Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, imploring that she intervenes urgently to stop the imminent exportation from Uganda of 283 medical specialists to the tiny, oil-rich nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
These health workers represent 11% of Uganda’s national capacity in obstetrics and gynecology, 16% in internal medicine, 15% in paediatrics, 25% in neurosurgery, 27% in pathology, 37% in psychiatry, 53% in orthopaedics, 67% in urology and 71% in radiology.
|CSOs petitioning the Speaker of Parliament, RT.HON. Rebecca Kadaga to stop the exportation of medical workers to Trinidad and Tobago|
“To export 100 midwives has the effect of withdrawing maternal health services from 900,000 mothers in Uganda. The export of doctors deprives care to 1.2 million Ugandan patients,” said Sam Senfuka of White Ribbon Alliance Uganda.
|25 journalists were present to cover CSOs petition the Speaker of Parliament to stop exportation of health workers|
Claire Mugisha of AGHA Uganda noted that this plan, if implemented, will mean more suffering and preventable death in our communities, particularly among pregnant women, newborns, people with HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and other leading causes of preventable death in Uganda.
“We are asking the Speaker of Parliament to stand with us and call for this plan to be stopped,” she added.
“Adding insult to injury, Government is projecting a Ushs 317 billion cut to the health sector for FY 2015/16,” said Asia Russell, of Health GAP. “This is a sector that requires more funding,not less—Government should be increasing health worker remuneration, improving working conditions and increasing the wage bill so that clinics are filled with motivated health workers. Duty bearers are defying national evidence and policy by proposing an export of health workers, when they should be fixing those problems that push health workers to leave.”
Uganda has a doctor to patient ratio of 1: 24,725 against a WHO recommended ratio of 1: 1,000; a nurse to patient ratio of 1: 11,000 against a recommendation of 1: 500.
Even this national average does not account for acute regional disparities in the distribution of health workers. 80% are concentrated in Kampala, which caters for only 20% of the population.
In most districts, the doctor to patient ratio is over 1: 150,000. Overall, 42% of positions are vacant. By comparison, Trinidad and Tobago has 10 times as many doctors, 3 times as many nurses, 22 times the per capita health spending, 32 times the per capita GDP and universal health insurance. Only 42% of expectant Ugandan mothers compared to 98% of Trinidadians have access to skilled maternal health services. Ugandan mothers are 4 times more likely to die during child birth; 3 times as many Ugandan children die before the age of 5.
Asia Russell, Health GAP 0776 574 729
Sam Senfuka, White Ribbon Alliance Uganda 0704 920 042