The State Minister of Health for General Duties, Sarah Opendi has denied the reports that government intends to import medical doctors from Cuba.
Although Minister Opendi admitted to the fact that a proposal to hire foreign doctors had been tabled, she said it has never been discussed conclusively.
“We have no preparations to hire Cuban doctors. This would require us to liaise with the Cuban authorities which hasn’t been done yet,” Opendi told journalists at Parliament on Wednesday.
A story published by Daily Monitor on Monday stated that government was set to bring in a total of 200 medics from Cuba, attracting a backlash from the doctors Association and the general public.
On Tuesday, legislators sitting on the Parliamentary Health Committee also opposed the plan, noting that it is not in good faith.
The MPs including Joel Sebikali, Fred Baseke, Betty Aol Sizomu expressed concern that importing doctors would not solve the long term problems facing the health sector.
Uganda Medical Association (UMA) which brings together medics in the country similarly contested the plan arguing that the country is not short of medical specialists.
“Government’s move to import Cuban doctors would be okay if it was in 1986 when Uganda was recovering from war. Then, we were at our lowest but in 2016, 30 years down the road, this means that the health sector has gone back to its level of 1986 and in political terms it means government is nowhere,” Dr. Ekwaro Obuku told journalists on Tuesday.
He said that up to 500 doctors graduate from school every year, on top of 150 specialist doctors that are chunned out annually.
“We have the most qualified doctors in the world who are lacking equipment. All they need is to once in a while go abroad and sharpen their skills,” he added.
Some of the members of the public have wondered why government would consider getting medics from abroad when Ugandan doctors lack the basic requirements like gloves, gauze and others to work.