The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has quizzed the permanent secretary, of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine over the contentious issue of importing Cuba Doctors to the country.
Dr. Atwine had appeared before the committee to answer queries in accordance to Auditor General’s report for the financial year 2015/16.
The legislators sought explanations on the plight of local medical personnels in the wake of planned importation of Cuban doctors and how they will work alongside demoralized Ugandan doctors.
MP Mathias Mpuuga wondered if the local health workers are to be compelled to work on gun-point in favour of the Cuban doctors who barely understand English.
“Some of the reasons that local doctors gave while on strike was the lack of consumables. Will the Cuban doctors come with their own consumables, and why Cuba who can hardly speak English and not any other country? How will they deal with the local personnel who are already demotivated?” Mpuga demanded.
Dr. Atwine said that their decision to import Cuban doctors is based on grounds that they come as specialists who will offer more training to the intern doctors where the gap still lies.
“One of the issues that we raised in the inter-ministerial meeting was that if we are to bring the Cubans here, we needed specialists who can bridge the gap of recruitment,” Atwine said.
She added that, “At the time of discussion, the interns had complained about the issue of not having enough training centres and we wanted to expand the training centres by putting specialized medics in those centres.”
However, President Museveni on Tuesday highlighted that his decision to import Cuban doctors was informed by the “selfish” and “crooked” conduct that Ugandan doctors exhibited when they went on a three-week long strike last year. Museveni condemned what he refered to as blackmail citing himself and security officers whom he said never go on strike despite their low pay.
“I wanted to bring Cuban doctors because our own doctors behaved very badly and unprofessionally. They tried to incite others to abandon patients so that patients die.”
Museveni said that such conduct was not going to be tolerated.