The Cuban government has expressed worry about government’s failure to pay Cuban doctors serving in Ghana
Deputy Minister of Health Marcia Cobas Ruiz while paying a courtesy call on the Northern Regional minister Solomon Boar said these doctors have not received their salaries since September last year- Ghana’s Myjoyonline reported on Tuesday.
There are more than a hundred Cuban doctors in Ghana providing health care in Upper East, Northern, Volta, Eastern, and Greater Accra regions with most of them in the northern part of the country.
“This is not just” she complained.
Madam Ruiz said so far, only those in Accra have received full payment with those in the northern region taking just part payment.
Madam Ruiz the Cuban doctors remain committed to discharging their duty despite the difficulties.
Details about the salary arrears are yet to be ascertained but Ghana as at March 2017 had an US$4,7m outstanding indebtedness to the Cuban medical brigade. The debt mainly accrued over the last 8 years.
Since the 1959 Cuban Revolution, its government sends medical personnel overseas, particularly to Latin America and Africa and also brings medical students and patients to Cuba.
There are about 250 Ghanaian medical students studying in Cuba. Cuba provides more medical personnel to the developing world than all the G8 countries combined,
Uganda to import Cuban doctors
Recently, Public Service minister Muruli Mukasa said Uganda was planning to import 200 Cuban doctors to boost the few specialists, especially at upcountry stations shunned by local doctors.
He said government will pay each Cuban doctor about $1,500 (about Shs5.4m) per month, yet a local senior consultant doctor will get Ugx. 4.5m per month.
Data from the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council indicate there are 5,226 doctors in Uganda, with 3,000 of the doctors and dentists licensed to practice. Official records show that the government, as of July last year, had 1,477 doctors on its payroll, but the annual health sector performance report for Financial Year 2015/2016 indicated that there 1,109 vacant positions for medical doctors with filled staff level standing at 49 per cent.
In an interview with the Observer, Dr Ekwaro Obuku, the UMA president revealed that the comprehensive cost for importing Cuban doctors likely outweighs benefits.
“I have seen places where doctors and midwives deliver women using spotlights and phones hung in their mouths, we wonder if these doctors will bear with that,” Dr Obuku said.
He added: health practitioners believe the language barrier would create a need for nurses or midwives as interpreters. This ‘Cuban solution’ undermines the [government’s] Buy Uganda Build Uganda policy and threatens our progress. Ugandan doctors deserve to be invited to enjoy the fruits of Uganda’s happiness.