The Ministry for Health has unveiled mechanisms and incentives for medical practitioners so as to motivate them in their job.
It has been observed that most medical and health practitioners leave public practice to go abroad or join private health facilities as a result of not being motivated.
The recent National Leadership Retreat resolved to develop mechanisms to motivate and retain medical and health practitioners in government-owned health facilities.
In an interview last week, the Minister for Health, Dr Diane Gashumba, said there were plans to start talking to medics to discuss various issues affecting the profession.
She said that among the incentives was to work with private health facilities to help in the development of medics and to see how they can work for both public and private institutions.
Another way is to facilitate medics operating in public health facilities to be able to privately treat patients from public institutions and the money they generate is added on their salaries.
“We are looking toward discussion with the government so that medics can have access to affordable housing. We also plan to have a savings cooperative bank (SACCO) for medics. We have many health workers and realised that we can achieve a lot if we worked together,” she said.
“We are also looking for ways to facilitate them to have their own transport means”.
Some medics say that the reason many leave public hospitals was not mainly due to low pay, as they earn the same as other public servants, but the issue of lack of a clear policy on what kind of contracts they sign.
According to Dr William Kanyankore, the Director of Gisenyi Hospital, in Western Province, some medics get short contracts such as three or six months and leave after they have got used to the place and environment.
“They are recruited, after a short period they go for better jobs, taking with them their expertise. It is an issue in all hospitals and it is not necessarilydue to poor salaries,” he said
“There is need for a strong policy on long-term contracts, this means that if you are recruited to work for a certain hospital, you sign a contract for, say, five years and be bound by it,” said Kanyankore
He added that medics should not be complaining of poor pay since they are in the same range as other public servants, but suggested there should be more incentives such as indemnities, communication fees, paying for extra hours, affordable housing, among others.
The leadership retreat also resolved to develop mechanisms to use medical specialists from University Teaching Hospitals in teaching medical students to help improve the quality of education.