20 February 2013

Uganda: 4,000 Medics Shun Jobs

Over 4,000 health workers have turned down their government appointments at health centre IIIs and IVs, citing poor remuneration, lack of accommodation and poor working conditions, state minister for general duties in the health ministry has said

Appearing before the parliamentary committee of health yesterday, Kataike said: "As of February 15, only 1,393 health workers had reported for duty out of the 10,231 vacancies advertised. A total of 5,713 health workers were offered jobs, so we still have 4,518 jobs to fill."

Asked what challenges she faced during the recruitment process, she said: "Medical officers did not respond to the advert probably because they don't want to live in villages."

Kataike also expressed fear that the health workers who have reported for duty may run away or not turn up due to lack of accommodation.

She said last August, the Government advertised 10,231 vacancies for health workers in 111 districts, but 24 anesthetic assistants applied out of the 263 needed and 30 ophthalmic clinical officers applied out of 159 required.

A total of 49 applied for the public health vacancies out of 117 needed, 119 theatre assistants applied out of 228 jobs advertised and 119 medical officers applied out of 152 needed. A total of 76 anaesthetic officers applied out of 182 needed.

Flanked by the permanent secretary in the health ministry, Dr. Asuman Lukwago and the director general health services, Dr. Jane Achen, Kataike also decried the shortage of midwives in the country, saying it may lead to a high mother and infant mortality rate.

"Currently, Uganda has few professional midwives. The education ministry is entrusted with the role of training midwives, but they have resorted to training comprehensive nurses, who can't serve as midwives," she said.

Achen said despite the Government's efforts to increase salaries of medical officers to sh2m, they have refused to apply for the jobs.

The private sector offers better pay, good working conditions and accommodation compared to civil service," she said.

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