Health Service Commission wants doctors’ salaries raised

Saturday May 1 2010

By Ismail Musa Ladu

The Health Service Commission wants the salary of medical personnel to be matched with that of the High Court Judges. The appeal for an increase in salary was made to the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Ssekandi, by the chairperson of the commission, Prof. George Kirya, following rampant resignation of medical personnel in search of greener pastures. “The issue of remuneration is very important Mr Speaker. You will be amazed that if you go to the neighbouring countries you will find our doctors there doing what they should be doing here,” Prof. Kirya said.

Payment issue
“If you ask me how much we want doctors to be paid, our answer is; like the High Court judges.” A High Court judge earns Shs6.8 million, a Court of Appeal judge earns Shs7 million and a Supreme Court judge earns Shs7.3 million monthly. The principal judge gets Shs7.6 million, the deputy chief judge gets Shs7.8 million, while the chief judge earns Shs9.5 million monthly.

The government offers newly-recruited medical officers a gross monthly salary of Shs626, 181, while the highest medical officer, at the level of a consultant takes home Shs1.6 million as monthly pay.

This is three times less than what Rwanda and Kenya give their doctors. In these two countries, a junior doctor earns Shs2 million while a senior doctor at the level of a consultant gets Shs6million per month. Presenting the Health Service Commission report to the Speaker, Prof. Kirya said lack of proper working tools has further compounded the urge for Uganda’s doctors to work elsewhere.

According to the report, specialised health workers shun working in the country because of poor remuneration. The report also says attracting health workers whose training is not done here is a challenge because of low payment.

The report highlights inadequate equipment, lack of funding and delay in recruitment processes as some of the challenges facing the medical profession.
Mr Ssekandi said he would commit the report to the relevant committee for scrutiny. The Government Chief Whip, Mr Daudi Migereko, laid the report on table yesterday and it was committed to the Social Services Committee.