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    Doctors Hiding From Patients In Government Hospitals – Minister Tells MPs

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    Ugandans seeking treatment from public health facilities have to brace themselves for tougher times, after Government admitted that the issue of absenteeism among medical workers is here to stay.

    The revelation was made by Sarah Opendi, the state Minister of Health (General Duties) this afternoon during a plenary sitting where she noted that the Ministry of Health is still grappling with challenge of absentee doctors, as the remuneration given to them isn’t attractive enough for them to work for Government.

    Opendi told Parliament that whereas the Ministry of Health had agreed to turn all regional referral hospitals into teaching hospitals, implying that interns are supposed to be posted there and trained by the senior consultants, this hasn’t been the case as the specialists have continued to shy away from public health facilities.

    “We have had a challenge, the Health Service Commission has advertised for consultants and senior consultants but the pay is still low thus not attracting them to work for us as Government,” Opendi said.

    The Minister was reacting to a matter raised by Lira Woman MP Joy Atim who tasked the Minister of Health to explain why there are no specialists in hospital, adding that this has rendered interns idle because they have to be supervised by the specialists who are no longer there.

    Atim warned that the dire situation at Lira hospital is likely to worsen with the current Director set to retire in a few months’ time.

    In her response, Minister Opendi revealed that the specialists that take up these positions work once or twice a week, and said this can only be solved by revising remuneration of consultants.

    She explained: “Until we address the issue of remuneration of these senior consultants, we shall not be able to attract them in our health facilities. We came up with an ideal structure however, Government wasn’t able to pay those wages and we agreed that maybe in a phased manner, we shall be able to address this.”

    Opendi added that although Ugandans are losing loved ones due to the absence of doctors, there is no reason why a senior consultant who earns Shs3M in Uganda can fail to take up a job in Kenya and Rwanda where he/she would be paid Shs10M.

    “I mean what attracts him? The issue of absenteeism is because they work for Government 2-3days and they move. Slowly we hope, we shall be able to address this but it remains a big challenge, now that we are going into the next budgeting cycle, I think we need to look at this further,” the Minister said.

    The development comes at the time when the report on the Ministerial Policy statement by for the Ministry of Health 2018/2019 highlighted the plight of inadequate health personnel putting the national average at 73% as at June 2017.

    The report highlighted that the staffing gap in Health Center II stands at 53% and at 68% at general hospital level, the same challenge is faced at Uganda Cancer and Heart Institutes whose human resource gaps stand at 54% and 62% respectively.

    At the time of considering the budget, the Health Committee of Parliament was informed that whereas the current staffing norms require a total of 392 personnel (senior consults and Senior Medical Officers); only about 23% are currently recruited.

    At the time, the Committee warned that failure by Government to prioritize recruitment of critical staff will hinder health service delivery across all health levels and affect the Ministry’s attainment of the health sector planned targets.

     

    By Stella Mugoya

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    Angels Of Death Strike, Take Two Of Uganda’s VIPs In 2023 Opener

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    Two of Uganda’s Very Important Persons have Monday died.

    National Unity Platform’s parliamentary flag bearer in the last year’s Omoro County by-elections, Simon Toolit Aketcha is dead.

    Toolit, died on Monday morning.

    The news of his death was confirmed by Omoro county MP Andrew Ojok Oulanyah.

    “It is a dark day in Omoro! We have lost one of our gallant sons and former MP, Hon. Simon Toolit Akecha! Hon. Toolit was the MP for Omoro County between 2006 & 2011 and was a candidate in recent by-elections. May his soul rest in eternal peace!” OJok tweeted.

    Toolit put up stiff political resistance against the late Jacob Oulanyah before also competing against his son Andrew Ojok Oulanyah.

    Toolit will be remembered as a candidate to have competed against the Oulanyah’s while holding the flag for two different parties for under ten years.

    In 2016, Toolit, then a candidate of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) contested against NRM’s Jacob Oulanyah and polled 6,823 votes against the latter’s 8,218 votes.

    In the same manner, Uganda’s high commissioner to Kenya and Seychelles, Dr Hassan Galiwango, has died.

    Galiwango died Monday morning at Nairobi Hospital where he had been admitted.

    The late was the husband to Mbale City Woman Member of Parliament, Connie Nakayeze Galiwango.

    President Museveni appointed Galiwango as the high commissioner to Kenya in October 2020.

    Galiwango was also the former long serving director of finance and administration at the NRM secretariat at the time of his ambassadorial appointment. Ms Medina Naham, the NRM party chairperson of Koboko District, replaced him at the secretariat.

    The cause of his death is yet to be communicated by the government.

    Last year, Bank of Uganda governor prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah and Gen. Elly Tumwine among other VIPs died.

     

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    Five Dead As Bomb Goes Off In Church Near DRC, Uganda Border 

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    A bomb killed at least five people on Sunday after detonating in a church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the army said.

    Details of the attack remain hazy, but military spokesman Antony Mualushayi said the “terrorist act” happened in a Pentecostal church in North Kivu province’s Kasindi, a town on the border with Uganda.

    Mualushayi later told reporters that at least five bodies had been taken to the morgue following the blast, in what he called a provisional death toll.

    Joel Kitausa, a local civil society figure, put the death toll at eight and said 27 other people had been wounded.

    AFP was unable to independently confirm the toll.

    It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack. Mualushayi said that one suspect — a Kenyan — had been arrested.

    The DRC’s communications ministry said on social media that the attack was apparently carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group.

    The ADF — which the Islamic State group claims as its affiliate in Central Africa — is active in the Kasindi area.

    It has been accused of slaughtering thousands of Congolese civilians and carrying out bomb attacks in Uganda.

    The ADF has planted bombs in towns in North Kivu in the past.

    Since 2021 a joint Congolese-Ugandan military operation has been targeting the ADF in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province.

    Over 120 armed groups roam mineral-rich eastern DRC, many of which are the legacy of regional wars that flared at the turn of the 21st century.

    Source: AFP

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    Nepal Crash: Dozens Killed As Plane Crashes Near Pokhara Airport

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    Dozens of people have been killed after a plane with 72 people on board crashed near an airport in central Nepal.

    The Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu to the tourist town of Pokhara crashed on landing before catching fire.

    Videos posted on social media show an aircraft flying low over a populated area before banking sharply.

    At least 68 people are confirmed to have died, officials said. Several critically injured survivors were taken to hospital, unconfirmed reports said.

    Local resident Deeveta Kal told the BBC how she rushed to the crash site after seeing the aircraft plunge from the sky shortly after 11:00am local time (05:15 GMT).

    “By the time I was there the crash site was already crowded. There was huge smoke coming from the flames of the plane. And then helicopters came over in no time,” she said.

    “The pilot tried his best to not hit civilisation or any home,” Deevta Kal added. “There was a small space right beside the Seti River and the flight hit the ground in that small space.”

    The flight set out with 68 passengers on board, including at least 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members.

    According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, the 15-year-old twin-engine ATR 72 stopped transmitting position data at 05:05 GMT and the last signal from the aircraft was received at 05:12.

    Hundreds of Nepalese soldiers were involved in the operation at the crash site in the gorge of the Seti, just one and a half kilometres from the airport.

    The search operation has been suspended for the day, officials say.

    Video taken where the plane came down showed thick billowing black smoke and burning debris.

    “We expect to recover more bodies,” an army spokesman told Reuters, saying the plane “has broken into pieces”.

    Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal called an emergency meeting of his cabinet and urged state agencies to work on rescue operations. A panel to investigate the cause of the crash has been set up.

    Of the passengers, 53 are said to be Nepalese. There were five Indian, four Russians and two Koreans on the plane. There was also one passenger each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France among others.

    Aviation accidents are not uncommon in Nepal, often due to its remote runways and sudden weather changes that can make for hazardous conditions.

    A Tara Air plane crashed in May 2022 in the northern Nepalese district of Mustang, killing 22 people.

    In early 2018, 51 people were killed when a US-Bangla flight travelling from Dhaka in Bangladesh caught fire as it landed in Kathmandu.

    The European Union has banned Nepalese airlines from its airspace over concerns about training and maintenance standards in the country’s aviation industry.

    Source: BBC

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