The rate at which specialized doctors do exit public to work for private hospitals has raised worries among members of parliament despite the government of Rwanda’s efforts to build strong health sector. The concern was raised yesterday as Premier Murekezi Anastase presented government activities’ report in the health sector to both chambers of parliament.
MPs requested the government to strengthen the efforts of retaining specialized doctors as a total of 20 doctors left University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) to work for private hospitals last year.
“Specialized doctors in dental surgery do not exceed three in the country. When he/she leaves CHUK for King Faisal Hospital, it becomes difficult to replace her/him as they demand higher wages. Is there any survey carried out to establish why they leave? There must be proper policies to retain them and facilitate Rwandans to easily access them,” said MP Mporanyi Théobald.
Another MP Bamporiki Edouard raised concern over government-sponsored students in international universities who fail to return after completing education.
“There must be regulations in place and a framework to follow up students on government scholarships that remain abroad after completing studies along with others leaving the country after completing studies,” he said.
“Specialized doctors don’t have specific hospital to which they belong. He is in CHUK in the morning; go to King Faisal Hospital at noon and in private hospital at dawn. A survey must be carried out to establish how much they are paid so the government provides such salary and give them regulations on staying on the job as fluid mobility endangers people’s lives,” he added.
Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi said that it should raise no worry to have doctors leaving for other hospitals inside the country.
“Doctors leaving for private hospitals inside the country create no problem because they can be invited for assistance. The problem remains for those leaving for work outside the country. For instance we would face loss if 35 of 218 doctors who studied on government’s scholarship leave the country because educating doctors is expensive. Workers in health sector are not enough while existing ones need gradual capacity building,” he said.
“The problem should not be taken in the perspective of increasing their salary but also how they are valued in the society. They are great persons we must respect to make them feel valued,” he added.
Parliamentarians explained specialized doctors are lacking in many hospitals a challenge realized when they visited various health centers and hospitals. Low salaries, contracts and non-paid extra working hours have been pointed to be the major causes of labour turnover.
Rwanda has 1,089 doctors, 303 specialized doctors, 10,795 nurses, 752 midwives and 1,543 laboratory technicians.