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Expat doctors decry one-year contracts

Despite a shortage of medical doctors in the country, government is contemplating one-year contract offers to expatriate doctors. The move is likely to cause problems in the public health service as foreign doctors are likely to be uncertain about their future.

The move initiated by the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) has angered some foreign doctors who are now planning to look for greener pastures outside Botswana. The concerned doctors said the decision was done without proper consultation with them and the information came as merely an announcement to them.

“It is not even clear whether the contract will be renewed every year or not. I don’t think it is wise for us to be renewing contracts every year when in other countries I can sign for a three-year or more contract. This is a clear sign that the government does not want our service,” the source said.

For his part the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Madigele expressed his disappointment. Madigele said: “The issue is new and I need to engage more with DPSM on it. Apparently, this is motivated

by the desire to give locals a better chance at certain posts.

My ministry might not benefit from this dispensation, as doctors are a rare commodity, especially locally. Furthermore, there is attrition due to undesirable wages and unpleasant conditions of services for doctors when you compare this country to our neighbours in the region”. 

“So to me this is not an incentive for foreign doctors to come here. We might have an unprecedented shortage of doctors if we continue down this route.”

The Minister said he advocates for an unique pay structure for his ministry because of the human resources challenge they face together with the specialised nature of their services.

 “We are a professional ministry, hence there is need to consider separating the ministry from the Public Service Act.”

The Minister admitted that there is still a shortage of doctors in the country.




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