Are the Cuban doctors the answer?
Late last year when Ugandan doctors went on strike over poor pay, working conditions and shortage of drugs and medical supplies, an angry Yoweri Museveni instructed technocrats to look into the possibility of hiring Cuban doctors to rescue the country. The meeting held at state house in Entebbe was attended by officials from the ministries of health, finance, public service and labour together with officials from the Health Services Commission.
We had a shortage of doctors back in 1986 when President Museveni had just taken over. This was mainly caused by brain drain and hostile working conditions, political and social instabilities that rocked our beautiful Pearl of Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. His Excellency requested for medial and professional help from Fidel Castro’s regime, he asked for 100 doctors. Fidel advised him to focus on building national capacity and offered Uganda a grant which was later used to set up the Mbarara University of Science & Technology with a dozen of Cubans as trainers.
Now that the plan to import the Cubans is taking shape, one can wonder whether the complaints put forward by the Ugandan doctors shall be solved by bringing in a mere 200 doctors. Nothing has been mentioned about measures to tackle the shortage of drugs, equipment and medical supplies. With a salary of USD 1500 for the Cuban doctors, excluding housing, transport and other allowances, this amount could shoot up-to almost USD 300000 per month, that’s $3.6 million per year for each of the 200 doctors.
On Tuesday, 1st May at the international Labour Day celebrations, Museveni accused the medical practitioners of not knowing what they are doing and not being patriotic. Doctors are like other human beings, they need decent housing, food, vehicles, afford descent schools for their children. Considering the work they do, they deserve all these. It has nothing to do with patriotism, one should love a country that loves them back.
The President’s remarks on hiring Cuban doctors led to an outburst on twitter and other social media platforms under the hashtag #CubanChallenge
Some of the tweets on the #CubanChallenge tag on twitter.
The President’s outrage on doctors has left the entire nation in awe and wondering if the proposed minimum wage bill will have more substance to ensure professionals and the entire work force receive proper pay for the work they do. The President used the same speech to announce that teachers, teaching science subjects and courses in institutions of learning would be considered for improved pay leaving out those that teach Arts.
Its from the extract that we pass a question to you our readers, do you think Science teachers deserve a pay raise at the expense of Art teachers? Let us know what you think in the comments section below or with a post on any of our Social Media Platforms