Uganda: Trained Doctors for Mulago Project Redundant Over Cash Constraints

13 December 2019

A total of 41 specialised doctors trained abroad by government to champion the opening of a specialised medical services in Uganda are still waiting after the initiative reportedly failed to kick off due to funding constraints.

Daily Monitor understands that State House funded the training of the surgeons with each spending at least Shs91.1m on studies, accommodation and subsistence allowance for a one-year stay in India and Canada.

Dr Gideon Rukundo Rugari, the head of the minor access surgeries (MAS) at Mulago hospital, who coordinated the project, told Daily Monitor yesterday that upon return, the surgeons have remained redundant.

"We want these doctors to come to Mulago to practice what they were taught during the fellowship. The specialised skills are being wasted up country. We want to come together because if you are building an army, you have to keep them together for discipline, cohesion and protocol," Dr Rugari said.

He said the facility, supposed to be accommodated at the New Mulago section to serve as a centre of excellence in the Great Lakes region, needs at least Shs91.8b to be established, including the procurement of equipment, training and running hospitality services.

The surgeons, selected from hospitals across the country, were trained in specialised procedures targeting 14 areas.

These include neuro surgery, GI surgery/oncology, liver transplant; urology/renal transplant, vascular surgery, spine surgery, nephorology, reconstructive surgery and kidney transplant.

Others are breast and endocrinology surgery, interventional radiology, implabtology surgery, in-vitro fertilisation (fertilisation of mature eggs by sperm in a laboratory before being put back in the uterus) and arthroscopic surgery.

"These surgeons need to practice because one needs a minimum of 100 successful procedures to become a specialist. I know some of them who are ready to go out of the country but we always convince them to wait hoping that funds would be made available to put up the facility," Dr Rugari said.

"There is fear of decay of skills hence it is expensive to send them abroad again for training. We had planned that our Indian trainers would come to Uganda and guide us in the initial stages of the product. We need government support," he added.

Redeployed

The doctors have been redeployed to various health facilities since their return at the end of 2018.

Dr Rugari accused the Ministry of Health of ignoring a presidential directive to fund the establishment of the facility.

However, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the ministry's senior spokesperson, demanded proof of the directive from the doctors.

"Without seeing that directive, I may not have enough to say but I know we have been sponsoring doctors for specialised training abroad,"Mr Ainebyoona said.

He promised to furnish this newspaper with information concerning the specialised medical services project.

Cost of treatment abroad

Many Ugandans, whose medical condition cannot be handled within the country, are given referrals to specialists abroad, especially in India, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Turkey and neighbouring Kenya. Most of the complicated medical conditions cost not less than $5,000 (about Shs18m).

Specialised doctors

DOCTOR AREA OF SPECIALITY

Gideon Rukundo Rugari GI Surgery/Oncology

Jane Racheal Ayikoru GI Surgery/Oncology

Vivian Akello GI Surgery/Oncology

Gideon Kwikiriza Kurigamba GI Surgery/Oncology

Michael Okello Liver Transplant

Saul Kagwa Liver Transplant

William Ocen Liver Transplant

Jimmy Odaga Renal Transplant

Ian Asiimwe Shane Renal Transplant

Robert Masereka Renal Transplant

Joseph Okello Odoi Vascular Surgery

Rodney Mugarura Spine Surgery

Raymond Malinga Spine Surgery

Naomi Amuron Spine Surgery

Michael Blessing Taremwa Neurovascular Surgery

Rita Nassanga Interventional Radiology

Emmanuel Elobu GI Surgery/Oncology

Vianney Kweyamba Liver Transplant

Olivia Kituuka Liver Transplant

Louis Asiimwe Liver Transplant

Nick Okwi Renal Transplant

Victor Nassaka Renal Transplant

Joseph Ogavu Gyagenda Nephrology

Esther Nakandha Magumba Nephrology

Aggrey Lubikire Critical and Intensive care

Emily Kakande Minor Access

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