African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) convened a high level Multi-stakeholder Health Workforce Migration Symposium at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala. The symposium that took place on the 16th August 2016 was premised on the theme: The Health Workforce Migration Crisis in Uganda; Understanding the Issues and Finding Solutions.
The State Minister for Primary Healthcare – Dr. Joyce Moriku while giving a speech during the symposium noted with much gratitude the progress through this project that has enabled the country for the first time to comply as a WHO member State, with timely reporting on the WHO Code of Practice this year, in March 2016. “The Ministry is available to provide ACHEST with any further information that may be required to take this work forward.” Dr. Moriku promised.
Ibadat Dhillon, WHO/ GHWA representative and the project lead in Geneva while presenting a comprehensive position paper on the Health Workforce Migration: A Global Perspective elicited on the WHO Global Code of Practice and gave an elaborate statistics on the migration of the health workforce from and to the different selected countries. He noted that, the number of migrant doctors and nurses working in OECD countries has increased by 60% over the past 10 years (from 1,130,068 to 1,807,948). “Investing in new health workforce employment opportunities may add broader socio-economic value to the economy and contribute to the implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” Dhillon advised.
Meanwhile Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) noted that the President has started noticing the needs of the health workers, recollecting the recent promise he made to give doctors and scientists a good pay. The ACHEST symposium comes barely two weeks after the President sacked medical workers at Wakiso hospital over alleged neglect of duty and incompetence.
Whereas Dr. Wondimagengehu Alemu, WHO representative urged the stakeholders to work together in a tripartite arrangement of; CSOs, government and development partners in a bid to come up with a home grown solution to the migration problem. “WHO pledge to support the subsequent dialogue processes and work closely with ACHEST and other professional bodies to improve our data for concrete and evidenced based advocacy.” Dr. Alemu said.
The cost of educating a single medical doctor from primary school to university in Kenya is US$ 65,997 and for every nurse that emigrates, the country loses about US$ 338,868 worth of returns from investment. To curb this, countries need to disseminate compliance requirements for implementation of the WHO Code to promote HWF retention among other interventions. Dr. Patrick Kadama, Director Policy and Practice at ACHEST noted while making a presentation.
Dr. Kadama presented the next steps for Uganda and these included among others: Capacity development for data assembly & analysis; Re-validating registers through professional associations; Analysis and collation of data for reporting; Institutionalize; Completion of NRI for reporting; and Institutionalise a Common digital platform operation (HPA/ HSC); Build evidence base for HWF minimum living package for retention and re-introduce medical pay scales; and Build an investment case for re-investment in HWF/ new evidence available on economic benefit that were adopted by the stakeholders present.
The monumental work that has started will thrive by adopting the next steps suggested for Uganda and the momentum should not be slowed since implementation is one issue that needs up scaling. Prof. Omaswa cautioned.
Prof Pius Okong, the Chairperson Health Service Commission while closing the symposium urged ACHEST to engage with varied stakeholders on the Brain Drain to Brain Gain issue which he termed as a topical issue that cuts within and without countries.
The three-year project is an initiative to support selected countries on a pilot basis, to move From Brain Drain to Brain Gain through implementation of the WHO Code of Practice on International Recruitment of Health Personnel for Better