Govt Opens Up on Importing Cuban Doctors
Uganda’s government has spoken out on reports that it plans to hire 200 Cuban doctors.
Junior health minister Sarah Opendi told Parliament’s health committee on Wednesday that cabinet was yet to discuss the matter.
Opendi had appeared to explain the Mental Health Bill. The bill seeks to provide for care and treatment for persons with mental illness at primary healthcare centres.
OPENDI: GOVT NOT HIRING CUBAN DOCTORS
She revealed that officials in government had suggested the importation of Cuban doctors when medics were on strike.
“On the matter of importing doctors from Cuba, that matter was mooted at the time when the doctors were on strike,” Opendi told MPs.
She said government had not taken any decision on importing the Cuban doctors.
“Nothing has been discussed,” she said.
“As we speak, we do not have anything concrete regarding the importation of the Cuban doctors.”
As such, Ms Opendi said, one cannot talk about the number of doctors to be imported and what it will cost the government to hire the expatriate doctors.
Ms Opendi was appearing before the committee to explain the Mental Health Bill.
THE CUBAN DOCTORS’ CONTROVERSY
Opendi’s comments contradict earlier reports that cabinet had met, discussed the importation of Cuban doctors.
Reports had also indicated that cabinet had agreed to import the doctors.
A committee headed by health minister Jane Ruth Aceng had been constituted to fasttrack the recruitment, the reports had earlier indicated.
Uganda Medical Association (Uma) has criticised the move to import Cuban doctors.
“There is nothing new the Cubans will bring… if they come and they do not find the supplies, will they work? This is common sense.” said Uma president Dr Ekwaro.
“The cost of training a doctor is Shs 70 million. You cannot spend Shs70 million to train one doctor and then say you are going to bring in Cubans.”
Additional Reporting: Courtesy