The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare will at least enroll 35,973 students in various health colleges to beef up the shortage of employee in the ministry.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Dr Seif Rashid, the Minister for Health and Social Welfare said that out of the students enrolled, about 35,574 were employed.
“This is a milestone achievement as with such new entrants in the government service, we have managed to reduce the shortage of staffs from 58 per cent in 2011/12 to 52 per cent last year,” he said.
The minister explained that in the financial year 2014/15, the ministry enrolled new students in health and welfare colleges from 8,582 in 2013/14 to 11,192 this year.
“With such figure, the government went beyond the target set in the Primary Health Services Development Plan, which states that by 2017 at least 10,000 students should be enrolled…on top of that, the ministry will sponsor 241 post graduate students in various local and international universities,” he detailed.
Presenting views of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Service, Margret Sitta, the committee’s chairperson said: “It is obvious that in the country’s remote areas, there is shortage of staffs including health workers…the government ought to design a plan in which the shortage will be put to end.”
She added that: “The government should consider possibility of sponsoring young people from the respective areas and get them into contract to work with the ministry in those areas once they were through with their studies.”
According to her, the government should also reconsider about getting into contract with graduates in the health sector so as to work in remote areas for a specific period of time, before reallocating them. The contract may also involve special allowances for such staffs.
On the other hand, Dr Antony Mbassa, the Shadow Minister for Health and Social Welfare challenged the ministry saying the Primary Health Services Development Plan that was designed by the government so as to meet the demand of staffs in the health sector, yet nothing has been reported.
“The plan itself is a marvelous one, in fact it has accurate goals to be reached, but the problem is the fact that there is no clear information which is indicating on how this program has successfully streamlined and increases the number of qualified health workers in the sector,” he insisted.
He added that: “As of now, the designed plan has a very short time as it is yet to get to an end. Nevertheless, in reality we are still facing serious shortage of health workers and the said effort remains quite unsatisfactory”