Health ministry stops export of medics, seeks Shs 313bn


Minister of State for Health (General Duties) Dr Elioda Tumwesigye


Government has halted the proposed export of Health professionals to Trinidad and Tobago saying the move would weaken the health care system in the country.

Health Minister Ellioda Tumwesigye says that government reached the decision after discovering that 75 percent of the Health professionals who applied to relocate to Trinidad and Tobago were specialists already serving in government health facilities.

Tumwesigye disclosed this while appearing before the Health Committee of parliament chaired by Dr Kenneth Omona alongside side his junior minister Dr Chris Baryomunsi.

Government had indicated plans to export about 263 specialists to Trinidad and Tobago through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prompting protests from parliament and Health Rights Activists.

Those required include 15 internal medicine specialists, 4 Psychiatrists, 20 Radiologists, 15 Pediatricians, 4 Ear, Nose and Throat specialists, 100 Registered Midwives, 4 Anesthetists, 4 ophthalmologists, 40 Public Health Nurses and 100 Midwives amongst others.

Last week, activists under the “Civil Society Coalition to Stop Maternal Mortality in Uganda” led by Justinian Muhwezi Kateera, the Executive Director of the Institute of Public Policy Research presented a petition to the speaker of the parliament asking Government to halt the proposed export of Health Professionals saying it would increase Uganda’s disease burden.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry is seeking additional funding to the tune of Shillings 313 billion in the 2015/2016 financial year budget.

The money is meant to carter for medical interns, laboratory supplies, bonding doctors and salary enhancements amongst other things.

According to the 2015/2016 budget framework paper before Parliament, government has allocated the Health Sector Shillings 1.2 Trillion.

The money is to cater for different votes under the sector like the Uganda Cancer Institute, Heart Institute, National Medical Stores, Butabika hospital and Mulago National Referral hospital amongst others.

While appearing before the Health Committee chaired by Dr Kenneth Omona, Health Minister Ellioda Tumwesigye appealed for more funding to carter for the unfunded priorities in the budget.

He explained that of the required shillings 313billion, 50billion Shillings is to carter for laboratory supplies, 29.5billion Shillings for Hepatitis B interventions for 14 high burden districts and 16.3billion Shillings for counterpart funding obligations for government.

Tumwesigye said 192 billion Shillings is also required to cover a funding gap for priority commodities for HIV responses such as antiretroviral drugs, HIV testing and circumcision kits.

11billion Shillings is required for salary enhancements for midwives and doctors, 5.3billion for medical interns and 10billion Shillings for bonding over 300 doctors.

Other unfunded priorities include the control of outbreaks, major on-going projects in Mulago Hospital, Kawempe and Kirrundu health centers.

Tumwesigye also said the ministry needs another 225 billion Shillings to upgrade Health Centre IIs to IIIs.

He however, this is not one of the priority areas since government is negotiating with the World Bank and other partners to provide funding.


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