On Wednesday, while presiding over the release of the Uganda Allied Health Examinations Board results, the State minister for Higher Education, Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, urged health workers who have completed their study courses to seek job opportunities in rural areas instead of crowding in the city. He asked fresh health workers to move to all parts of the country to serve Ugandans, which of course, is a noble thing to do.
In Uganda, particularly for the ministries of Health and that of Public Service, there are standing orders of how one joins government departments and ministries. The recruitment of new staff is more centralised. The core role of the Health Service Commission, in this case, is to appoint, confirm, promote and review the terms and conditions of service, training and qualifications of health workers.
It is also mandated to foster professional and work ethics, and exercise disciplinary control over health workers under its jurisdiction. From the aforementioned, any appointment of a health worker would ordinarily have to go through this commission. Therefore, sourcing for available vacancies in various health units in the country and avail the information to the desirable applicants would be the role of the commission, whether the job openings are in the city or rural areas.
And deployment of recruited staff rests squarely at the veranda of this commission. So the minister would need to revisit the core mandate of the health commission to help the fresh graduates better in finding job opportunities, whether in rural areas or the city.
Additionally, patriotism demands that one is supposed to serve his country regardless of the place within the country’s jurisdiction, and in this same vein, government should interest itself with why some public servants resist deployment in the rural areas.
Without adequate accommodation and a good working environment in the countryside, resulting in pulling away of the already posted staff in the rural areas, it’s unlikely that a fresh graduate, who has tasted the urban amenities, will be compelled to work where there is no good and adequate accommodation, is unable to dispense their duties because the drugs and equipment in hospitals are lacking yet they are still full of force and vigour.
The push and pull factors too need to be considered while advising fresh job applicants to try their luck in the countryside so that staff can be retained in their workstations that are deemed to be hard-to-reach or in the countryside generally.
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