September 2012: The human resources for health situation in Uganda are still in a worrying state, and a significant gap since the available health work force cannot effectively deliver the National Minimum Health Interventions package (UNMHP). From 2011 to 2012, there has been a minor increase in staffing numbers from 54%. This crisis is directly related to the persistently high rates of preventable maternal death in Uganda now at 438 from 435 per 100,000 live births reaffirmed by the new Uganda Demographic Health Survey (2011/12).
For the Financial year 2011/12 the staffing norms for health workers stands at 54% including; 8,978 Nurses (24%), 4,535 Midwives (12%) ,1,118 Doctors( 3%) and 6,371 Nursing Assistants (17%)according to the Ministry of Health Public Health Care guidelines .The overall strategy of the 2012/13 Recruitment Plan is to improve the staffing levels from the current 54% to 65%.A total cost in wage of 25.6 billion Uganda shillings.
In February, 2012 AGHA Uganda through the Health Workforce Advocacy Forum (HWAF) presented a statement to the Parliamentary Social Services Committee demanding urgent attention to the matter of the massive shortage of health workers particularly nurses and midwives in Uganda.
Parliament has been working to adjust budgetary allocations in order to increase remuneration and recruitment of health workers. The Health workforce advocacy forum together with other coalitions including Stop Maternal deaths strongly supported this effort. May 2012, Action Group for Health Human Rights and HIV/AIDS (AGHA) Uganda through the HWAF organized a press conference demanding Government to prioritize salary increment and recruitment of health workers.
During the first half of the 2011/2012 financial year, the Health Service Commission interviewed 309 applicants for various positions of health workers .Unfortunately, The Health Services Commission disclosed that recruitment of 309 health workers was hanging in balance since the commission was lacking resources. Furthermore, the Commission published an advert for additional 1,500 health workers although this move was out stepped by a Government ban on the recruitment of health workers for the financial year 2012/13. This ban is a huge blow to the health sector as a whole and hence needs urgent action by policy makers and Government to lift the ban.
AGHA Uganda through the Health Work Force Advocacy Forum, together with other coalitions on Stop Maternal deaths in Uganda are still lobbying with the Government through forums with the budget committee, Ministry of Finance and the Speakers’ office to request for additional 260billion to enhance the consolidated allowances of health workers .
AGHA has published articles in the daily media to demand for recruitment for additional health workers including the article below published in March ,2012.
Sample of the press statement demanding Government to recruit additional health workers after the HWAF Annual General meeting held in March, 2012.
Dr.Oketcho Vincent, Prof.Sewankambo (far middle) and HWAF members during their Annual General Meeting in March, 2012
Human resources for health as key priority in the health budget of FY 2012/13 in fulfilling the commitment made in during the inter Parliamentary Union sessions in April 2012, towards ending maternal deaths in Uganda.
AGHA has been able to hold dialogue meetings between health workers particularly midwives and communities in its areas of operation to bridge the gaps in accessing ,maternal ,sexual and reproductive health services in the undeserved rural areas including , Nwoya, Soroti, Pallisa and Lyantonde.
Health Workforce Advocacy Forum (HWAF-Uganda) is coalition of health workers, Unions and civil society collations working on human resources for health in Uganda.
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