The staff recruitment exercise carried out by the Ministry of health has still failed to attract senior staff in hospitals and health centres around the country.
Dr Ruth Jane Aceng, the Director General Health Services, today revealed that the recruitment exercise failed to attract cadres like senior medical officers, public health nurses, anesthetic agents, cold chain assistants and theatre assistants.
Appearing before the health committee chaired by Workers MP Sam Lyomoki, Dr Aceng noted that as of February 15, 2013, of the 10,231 vacancies advertised, only 5713 health workers had been offered the jobs. Of those hired, only 1,393 had reported to work.
Eleven districts failed to get staff due to lack of district commissioners to interview them. These include Kabarole, Kabale, Amudat, Kalungu, Busia, Luuka, Kotido, Nakaseke, Kyankwanzi and Soroti.
Dr Aceng says the challenge the ministry is facing is that Non-governmental organisations are paying the medical officers better salaries and other facilities compared to the government health Centres.
She also adds that some of the new gaps created were due to promotion of staff from low health facilities to the higher ones which is worsening the already dire situation.
However, districts such as Manafwa, Bukomansimbi, Gulu, Nwoya, Mubende, Kiboga and Katakwi had a high turn up of medical workers.
Dr Asuman Lukwago, the health ministry permanent secretary, says the districts with a high turn up of staff cannot be moved because they qualify to be in those areas. According to Lukwago, the recruitment exercise was an eye opener for them and the ministry of education that has a curriculum that does not match the country’s health needs.
The Ministry of health officials led by Kataike Sarah Ndoboli, the state minister in charge General Duties, recommended that for this problem to be solved there is need to improve the remuneration of public health nurses, and recentralize the recruitment and deployment of doctors among others.
They cite the critical shortage of midwives and ask that the ministry of public service waive the policy on non-recruitment of comprehensive midwives. They also suggest immediate training for the newly recruited comprehensive nurses to improve their skills and ensure all midwives undergo training extension within three years.
On September 25, 2012, 49.5 billion shillings was approved for recruitment of 6,172 health workers.
Of this, 46.5 billion was for wage and salary enhancement for doctors while three billion shillings was provided to cover the recruitment costs.
A supplementary budget of 43 billion was also submitted to Finance and was approved in October.
However, Lukwago revealed that if they do not spend all the monies, part of it will be returned to the treasury. The Health ministry projections indicate that they can only use 22 out of the 43 billion shillings.
This is because the budget was approved against a financial year yet they could not recruit health workers within one month