Parliament’s Committee on Health calls for more funding to cater for human resource development at regional referral hospitals.
The committee members said that limited numbers of staff at some regional referral hospitals has crippled performance and put a burden on the available staff.
Hon. Nicholas Kamara (FDC, Kabale Municipality) said that some referral hospitals like Kawempe and Entebbe have staffing at 33.7 per cent and 28 per cent respectively compared some others with high staffing levels of over 95 per cent.
“To be fair, we should first look for money to increase the wage of these hospitals that are unfunded to at least 80 per cent like in Kayunga, Yumbe and Entebbe. This is an area where we can cooperate,” said Kamara.
Butaleja District Woman MP, Hon. Florence Nebanda said that if the challenge of human resource is not addressed in hospitals, the objective of improving health service delivery will not be archived.
“We lack specialists and consultants in our hospitals and we need a comprehensive plan by the ministry to improve recruitment. Many staff in hospitals are demotivated because they are short-staffed,” she said.
She urged the Health Ministry to provide a good remuneration package to health specialists and consultants to motivate them to stay in the country which will reduce costs and improve service delivery.
Hon. Victorious Zawedde (NRM, Nakasongola District) said human resource constraints at regional hospitals in the country have led to overcrowding.
“I visited Kawempe Referral Hospital and saw patients sleeping on the floor. When I asked them why they were crowding there, they told me that they had not been worked on in over 24 hours because of limited staff,” she said.
Zawedde added that Kawempe Referral Hospital has 175 vacancies whereas its recruitment percentage stands at 33 per cent.
The MPs raised the concerns in a meeting with hospital directors from regional referral hospitals in the country led by Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng.
The minister acknowledged that regional referral hospitals at border districts receive little support but was quick to add that refugee areas have a lot of support with several health centre IIIs and IV.
The Minister said wages have been increased but will not solve the human resource availability because the ministry’s policy allows for dual employment.
“The specialists will moonlight and continue to offer one hour to government. The wage provided for recruitment at the hospitals is only on replacement basis. We only have money for salary enhancement,” Aceng said.
She added that wage challenges will continue if money is not provided to the hospitals to recruit and fill the positions.