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Salary Enhancement for Gov't Health Workers Hurting Us-Private Health Providers :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Salary Enhancement for Gov't Health Workers Hurting Us-Private Health Providers

Grace Kiwanuka Ssali, the Executive Director of Uganda Healthcare Federation, the umbrella body for private healthcare providers told URN in an interview they have received complaints from several members about their specialists leaving due to low pay.
12 Apr 2024 14:42

Audio 5

Private hospitals have raised a concern over the high attrition rate of critical healthcare workers scrambling to join the public sector. 

Grace Kiwanuka Ssali, the Executive Director of Uganda Healthcare Federation, the umbrella body for private healthcare providers told URN in an interview they have received complaints from several members about their specialists leaving due to low pay.

She says, unfortunately, many private providers cannot raise pay to match government salaries that were enhanced by up to 300% partly due to the high burden of taxes. 

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As a result of this, Private healthcare providers who were attending the fourth Private Health Sector Convention organized by UHF expressed concern that to retain experienced human resources, they might soon have to increase the cost of access to care.

Dr Miriam Mutero, the General Manager at the International Hospital Kampala told journalists on the sidelines of the convention that they have already had to increase the salaries of their critical staff by 20% and fears that if pressure continues, this cost will have to be passed on to the customers.

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Generally, specialists working in the private sector earn an average of 8 million shillings per month, and yet gross pay for this cadre of health workers by the government has been enhanced to between 12 and 15 million shillings.

Mutero says trying to match this competition would only raise their cost of doing business higher, a reason why they’ve partly resigned to taking advantage of the fact that some specialists can moonlight with them as they work in government hospitals.

Dr Candia Tom Aliti, the Commissioner in-charge of Health Sector Partners in the Ministry of Health, acknowledged receiving these complaints whenever the Health Service Commission places recruitment adverts.  For him, as a short-term solution, moonlighting wouldn’t be a problem after all private health providers currently serve up to 50% of Ugandans. 

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For private Not-for-profit hospitals, the commissioner says the government is already helping them pay some specialists and such hospitals only provide a small top-up pay.

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However, the challenge of attrition from private facilities might only increase with the current plan government to recruit up to 7,000 health workers before the end of June. 

On Friday, the Health Service Commission held online aptitude interviews to fill 118 job posts in regional and national referral hospitals. 4,130 candidates applied in this round of recruitment and Aliti says the majority of those that scramble for such jobs are health workers already employed in the private sector.

Rose Clarke Nanyonga, the Vice Chancellor of Clarke International University says with such happening, there’s a need to re-evaluate how to handle the issue of human resources for health. For her, while the initial goal of the government salary enhancement was to equalize, it’s now evident that the move is hurting the private sector. 

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