KAMPALA – The Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng has called for increased funds to enhance the wages of medical doctors warning that failure to have their salaries increased has seen most medics abandon hospitals to take up teaching jobs in universities across the country.
“All consultants who were employed in the Regional Referral Hospitals left this FY to join the universities for a more lucrative academic career. There is, therefore, an urgent need to replace them at more competitive salaries of the Regional Referral Hospitals are to function effectively,” Minister Aceng said.
She made the remarks on Tuesday, March 12 while presenting a statement on the state of health service delivery in the country where she noted that the National Staffing level is at 73 percent at around 45,029 out of the 61,1796 approved posts filled in the public sector.
He said the target promised to increase to at least 76 percent in 2018/2019 and 80 percent by 2019/20 with 2018/2019 a wage enhancement of Shs150bn provided to the Health Sector.
The Minister added that although the stock of qualified health profession available for employment in the health sector increased from 90,412 in 2017 to 101,350 in June 2018, recruitment is constrained by the limitation of wage and failure to attract and this has mainly affected the specialists due to the low remuneration.
Currently there is a gap of 219 Clinical Specialists and 550 support cadres at National and Regional referral levels in the public sector and the human resource in health sector is further exposed by the 2015 Human Resources for Health (HRH) audit, which indicates that the vacant posts for consultants and senior consultants in the national and RRHs in the country is at 61 percent while the gap for the specialized cadres is at 83 percent.
As such, the Ministry of Health requires UGX5.4Bn to recruit specialists for the 13 Regional Referral Hospitals and the 14 general hospitals which have been rehabilitated to fill in the gaps.
She added that even if the current positions are filled the human resources available will still be inadequate to serve the ever increasing population which saw the Ministry put in place. a training, absorption and retention plan was developed to address this gap over the next 5 years with an estimated total cost for training specialists put at UGX14.37Bn and super specialists is UGX43.32Bn.
The Minister added that Government needs to enhance the salaries of the medical personnel to attract and retain them because a professor and a senior consultant have comparable training and years of experience, yet an Assistant lecturer earns more than a senior consultant.
According to the breakdown, a Professor earns UGX9m while Senior Consultant is paid UGX4.5 m on the other hand, an Assistant Professor is paid UGX8.5m and yet with the same education level and experience, a Consultant is only paid UGX4.2m
Yet still, a Senior lecturer walks away with UGX7.7m while the medical officer is paid UGX37.5 and Lecturer is paid UGX7m and Principal Medical Officer is paid UGX3,750,000 and Assistant Lecturer UGX5.2m and Senior Medical officer is UGX3.3m