State Minister for Health, Ms Sarah Opendi, has denied media reports that government was planning to import Cuban medical doctors to replace Ugandans. Ms Opendi told the House Committee on Health on Wednesday that “someone merely mooted the idea.”
“On the matter of importing doctors from Cuba, that matter was mooted at the time when the doctors were on strike,” she said. Adding that nothing has been discussed regarding the importation of the Cuban doctors.
Ms Opendi was appearing before the committee to explain the Mental Health Bill.
On 4th December 2017, the Daily Monitor reported that government is considering to bring in 200 doctors from Cuba and hire retired Ugandan medical professors to plug manpower gaps in Uganda, this newspaper can reveal.
The initial proposal was to fly in as many as 2,000 Cuban doctors, including specialists and consultants to replace the striking doctors during the period of industrial action, another Cabinet source said.
The paper quoted a highly -placed government that asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said the Cabinet constituted an ad hoc committee chaired by Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng to work out the finer details of the deal. The proposal was presented at the height of the doctors’ industrial action and Cabinet discussed and gave it the green light.
Health ministry officials, according to sources with familiar deliberations in Cabinet, had presented the plan as one under which they would replace striking doctors with Cuban counterparts.
The doctors under their umbrella body, the Uganda Medical Association (UMA), gave the government up to December 16 when they will decide on the next course of action.
Health State Minister for General Duties, Ms Sarah Opened, told Daily Monitor that the idea of importing Cubans came as a result of the doctors’ strike, and that it presented an opportunity to improve local medical internship.