MPs want health workers’ pay doubled in next financial year

Nursing students carry out first aid on a dummy recently. Nurses and midwives are poorly paid, have no allowances and are living in poor conditions, prompting most of them to leave the country for better remuneration elsewhere. PHOTO BY AL-MAHDI SSENKABIRWA

What you need to know:

MPs say the renumeration for nurses, midwives, theatre nurses and public health workers should be increased as they do most of the work.

MPs on the Parliamentary Health Committee have recommended that the salaries for health workers be doubled. In the last financial year, the legislators lobbied for an increment in the salaries for doctors and the government committed itself to a pay raise that saw doctors, especially those working in hard-to-reach areas, earn at least Shs2.5million per month.

“This year, we are insisting that the nurses, midwives, theatre nurses and generally public health workers should also have their salaries increased,” said Dr Sam Lyomoki, the committee chairperson.

MPs recommend
Most of this category of health workers earns between Shs250,000 and Shs400,000 but Dr Lyomoki said the money was too little to motivate them since they do most of the work. “We, as a committee, want this money doubled to have these health workers motivated and retained. We must end this brain drain so that Uganda as a country retains the best health workers,” Dr Lyomoki said.

In September last year, the government committed to invest Shs49.5 billion to recruit additional 6,172 health workers for health centre IVs and IIIs, and to enhance the wages of each doctor at the facilities to Shs2.5 million per month.

The move was to address the human resource crisis and scale down maternal and infant mortality. Of the recruited health workers, several of them shunned the jobs that were given to them due to poor remuneration, lack of accommodation and rural nature of health facilities across the country.

Meanwhile, the Health committee members have drafted a Bill, the Local Government Amendment Bill 2013, which once passed into law, would allow for the re-centralisation of all health workers. “Doctors are not being transferred like is the case with teachers and this has impacted on their performance. When doctors overstay at health centres, they tend to form cliques and we want to prevent this as a committee,” Dr Lyomoki said.