Uganda: Plan to export medics ‘threatens epidemic response’

| March 23, 2015

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Civil society activists are warning that Uganda’s ability to respond to major epidemics will be undermined if a plan to send 263 doctors, nurses and midwives to the Caribbean goes ahead.

Asia Russell is the executive director of Health GAP. She says, “Unless reversed, this move will undermine the fight against maternal mortality, HIV and other leading killers in Uganda.”

Uganda suffers from a chronic shortage of health workers. More than 21,000 jobs are currently unfilled. Every year, hundreds of newly qualified nurses leave Uganda for jobs in western countries, as well as Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa.

Ms. Russell continues: “It will also leave communities more vulnerable to … outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Ebola.” There have been five Ebola outbreaks in Uganda over the past 14 years, in which hundreds of people have died.

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Photo credit: Edward Echwalu/IRIN