By Marvin Ocol
Senior officials in the government of Seychelles have underscored the quality of service provided to country by Ugandan Teachers and Judges over the years.
They particularly mention Justice Martin Stephen Egonda Ntende who was the Chief Justice of Seychelles from 2009 to 2014; Justice Lilian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza (Court of Appeal, 2019); Justice Duncan Gaswaga (First Anti-Corruption Commission, 2016); and Justice Akiiki Kiiza (Supreme Court, 2014).
Given the above background, these senior officials indicate that Seychelles needs more Ugandan Teachers (for Sciences) and Doctors. They say that Seychelles has the potential to import agricultural products such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products.
These were part of the conversation Seychelles Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sylvestre Radegonde; Minister of Agriculture and Climate Change and Environment, Flavien Joubert; Minister of Health, Mrs. Peggy Vidot; and Principal Secretary for Education Services Department, Dr. Odile Decomarmond had with Uganda’s High Commissioner to Kenya and Seychelles with residence in Nairobi, Dr. Hassan Galiwango yesterday.
This was after Dr. Galiwango presented his credentials to Seychelles President, Wavel Ramkalawan.
Galiwango was accompanied to Victoria by his wife Hajjat Sheru Umar Nsubuga, Mr. Aryabaha Evans (Counsellor) and Ms. Bernadette M. Ssempa (First Secretary) from the Uganda High Commission, Nairobi.
According to a statement from Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Amb. Galiwango, who was well received by the President of Seychelles, delivered fraternal greetings from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to his counterpart. The High Commissioner and his host recalled the historical links between the two countries exemplified by exiling in Seychelles of Kabaka Mwanga and Omukama Kabalega by the British colonial administrators between 1899 and 1903. They agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries by concluding a General Cooperation Framework Agreement – with special focus on education, health, tourism, and agribusiness, among others.
Amb. Dr. Galiwango is the first High Commissioner of Uganda to present letters of credence to the President of Seychelles, which is a precursor for closer and deeper cooperation between the two countries. Seychelles has the total GPD of USD 12.3 billion and GDP Per Capita of USD 11,425.1 (2020) which is the highest in Africa. However, the country is highly dependent on tourism and fisheries, and climate change poses long-term sustainability risks.
However, calls for more teachers for sciences and doctors come at a time when Ugandan doctors have gone on strike, calling for better pay while President Yoweri Museveni has for some time now been calling for increase in the pay of science teachers.
According to a story carried by the Observer on September 8, 2014, 250 doctors leave Uganda every year.
Ministry of Health statistics show that the over 250 medical workers leave Uganda to work, mainly, in South Africa, Botswana and the United Arab Emirates, ministry of Health statistics show.
Majority of these are anesthetists, laboratory technicians, midwives and nurses. In a country where health professionals earn between Shs 400,000 for midwives and Shs 700,000 for medical doctors per month, working abroad, where remuneration is four times higher, is incredibly enticing.
For example, according to the ministry of Health statistics, in 2010, thirteen senior consultant surgeons left Uganda for Rwanda where each would earn Shs 9m monthly. In Uganda, a consultant surgeon is paid Shs 1.5m.
Recent statistics show an estimated shortage of at least 817 doctors and 9,921 nurses and midwives in the country.
According to Dr Vincent Oketcho, the Intrahealth country director, this translates into a 42 per cent job vacancy rate in the public health workforce.
Prof George Kirya, the chairperson of the Advocates for Professionalism and Quality in Health (APROQUAH), is worried.