Health Minister says steps taken to tackle shortage of specialist

HEALTH Minister Ummy Mwalimu said Tuesday the government is implementing several steps to remedy a shortage of specialists and nurses in Regional Referral Hospitals across the country.

Responding to a parliamentary question in Dodoma, Ummy said among the steps taken by her ministry includes redistributing specialists from hospitals with excess to those with severe shortage.

The Minister said, the government is also training doctors within and outside the country to acquire the needed speciality, however, the medical officers are yet to graduate.

According to the Minister the government is also implementing the Samia Suluhu Super Specialist program aiming to further train over 400 doctors within and outside the country. The program is expected to cost at least 8bn/-, she said.

“We do have a shortage of specialists in some referral hospitals. Our recent assessment found among other things availability of specialists in some hospitals that we now need to redistribute them to hospitals with serious shortages,” she said.

Last year the government released employment permits for specialists. Detail from the Ministry of Health indicates the government did not get specialists from the local market. “Our plan is to re-run the advert this year for new specialists,” the Health Minister said.

It was not clear when the government would announce the new job opening but the Minister said doctors have also been encouraged to seek specialist training to be more competent in their area. Minister Ummy assured that the jobs are still available.

A lawmaker, Emmanuel Mwakasaka, had demanded in the Parliament immediate action to deploy specialists to referral hospitals to remedy the shortage of the super specialized doctors.

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