Uganda plans to send its well-trained nurses to work in the United Kingdom and the Middle East, due to a lack of government-funded job openings.
Statistics from the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union show that about 5,000 nurses graduate from various institutions every year, but barely 2,000 get job placements.
Nathan Bisunswa is a nurse by profession, but he has been jobless for a while.
“I began working at a health center, then it was privately owned by then, but the challenges there are, they were like, they promise you money to get, you agree the money, but at the end of the month, they don’t get the money that was agreed,” he said.
His experience is similar to many who graduate from nursing schools in the east African country.
The country’s health care sector is not able to absorb all of them, as the the government has a tight budget for new recruitment.
“As of now, we are only able to recruit on a replacement basis until the government is able to find adequate wages to recruit all these specialists that we require,”said Ugandan Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng.
To bridge the unemployment gap, Uganda has licensed over 200 labour export companies linking health workers to opportunities in the United Kingdom and the Middle East.
Often those companies offer salaries four times that of what nurses are paid in Uganda.
“They should be paid reasonably well, so that they can settle down and also be able to enjoy life in the other country,” said the health minister.
For nurses like Bisunswa, it could be a life-changing opportunity.