By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus - Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Uganda, the country is reported by Uganda Medical Association (UMA) to have lost 58 doctors to the virus, not counting nurses.
UMA, the umbrella body for doctors in the country, reports that 11 doctors of Ugandan decent died overseas in different countries including the United States, United Kingdom, and India. Others died from Nigeria and Eswatini. Among the dead, 19 were consultants or senior consultants, and according to the UMA President, Dr Richard Idro, it takes two decades to train and raise to this rank in the professional field.
Besides, it takes five years of training and a year of internship for one to qualify as a medical officer in Uganda. Additionally, one is required to work two years at a general hospital before they can undertake a 3-year Master’s Degree to become a specialist medical officer.
To all this, one is required to work for between 5-7 years to qualify for appointment as a consultant and senior consultant respectively. Even still, this is subject to the availability of the senior rank slots.
Due to the time and resources taken to reach such a level, the loss, according to Dr. Idro is incalculable.
“We were not able to mourn the people who trained us, our seniors,” he said because of the COVID-19 restrictions on burials.
The deceased include Edward Ddumba, director at St Francis Hospital Nsambya, Prof Kanyerezi, Co-founder and Director of Kampala Hospital, and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Fred Kigozi who was also the former Director of Butabika Hospital.
Uganda has less than 50 consultants and senior consultants according to UMA records, and most are concentrated in Kampala.