Friday March 20 2015

EU warns Uganda against exporting medics

The European Union Ambassador, Mr Kristian

The European Union Ambassador, Mr Kristian Schmidt, has criticised government’s plan to export doctors, saying Uganda needs them more. File photo 

By Shabibah Nakirigya

Kampala. The European Union Ambassador, Mr Kristian Schmidt, has criticised government’s plan to export doctors, saying Uganda needs them more.
“Why can’t these doctors and nurses, despite the obvious need for their service, find a job here in Uganda? Are there bottlenecks in their recruitment and assignment to hospitals and health centres across the country?” Mr Schmidt asked.
He was speaking at the launch of the EU-funded 3.9 million Euros (Shs12 billion) Supporting Policy Engagement for Evidence-based Decision (SPEED) project in Kampala on Thursday.
The five-year project, which aims at improving policy analysis and policy influence in the Uganda’s health sector, will be undertaken by the Makerere College of Health Sciences.
Mr Schmidt called for a careful economic and policy research before the proposal is implemented.
The envoy said the project can help in the selection process for the “public health services Ugandans desperately need”.
The caution comes at a time when Belgium, a founder member of EU, suspended a transfer of development money worth 11 million Euros (Shs34b) to Uganda protesting the planned export of medical workers.
Last week, Belgium’s cooperation minister, Alexander De Croo, said the expatriation of the health workers would considerably weaken Uganda’s health system which his country has been contributing funds to build.

The genesis
Last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said government of Trinidad and Tobago had requested Uganda to supply medical professionals to supplement its health sector. The ministry said the move would accelerate existing bilateral relations between the Uganda and Trinidad and Tobago. However, health activists said it would hurt the already understaffed sector.

snakirigya@ug.nationmedia.com

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