Government has revealed plans to recruit 850 medical workers in a move aimed at improving health service delivery in public hospitals.
The Health Services Commission says recruiting each medical personnel will cost tax payers Shs500, 000.
Prof. Pius Okong, the Chairperson of Health Services Commission made the revelation on Wednesday while interfacing with MPs on the Health Committee of Parliament where the Commission jointly appeared with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Public Services to present their policy statement for 2018/19.
This was after Buhaguzi North MP, Daniel Muhairwe Mpamizo wondered why there are many vacant positions in public hospitals yet many medical professionals remain unemployed.
Okong revealed that government plans to recruit 850 medics to fill gaps in hospitals, adding that 720 positions have already been advertised.
The 720 will work in Kiruddu and Kawempe hospitals.
He noted that the recruitment process will cost tax payers Shs259m, a thing that didn’t go well with some MPs.
Kasambya County MP, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa wondered why the Commission is going to spend a lot of money on recruitment.
Okong defended the amount saying that the cost of advertising is very high. “…The cost of recruiting one person is about Shs500,000 which is the cost of recruiting a public officer,” Teopista Mary Wenene, the Secretary to the Health Service Commission said.
The Committee advised the Commission to cut down costs on recruitment and suggested that the Commission adopts use of e-recruitment methods to cut down on the cost of paper, space and time.
However, the Secretary declined MPs’ advise, stating that massive recruitment is done on a one by one process where they engage applicants into face to face interviews and those interviewing them pocket Shs60,000 per day which is another added cost.
Muluri Mukasa, the Minister for Public Service advised the Committee that the question of recruitment begins with proper planning.
“Once we know that the next financial year we are going to need 20 consultants, then that must be put in the plans and discussed with finance. It’s factored in the budget and recruitment becomes easy,” he said.
Ministry of Health says it’s uncertain that the increment made in the new salary structures for the health workers will stop many from going abroad for greener pastures.
In the proposed 2018/19 salary structures, the consultants/specialists in the health sector have been awarded Shs4.6m from 3.4m they have been receiving.
Minister of state for health Sarah Opendi says despite such increment, the salary still remains too meager compared to what is given out to medics in neighboring countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Opendi said this justifies the need to implement government’s proposal to bring in health experts from Cuba who can fill the gap of consultants especially in upcountry referral hospitals that are short of specialists.
Those from Cuba are to be paid slightly above Shs5m, Opendi said.