The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended doctor to population ratio is at least 20 medical doctors per 10,000 people, as in the WHO recommended doctor to population ratio is 1:500.
In Pallisa District, my home district in Eastern Uganda, for example, the doctor to population ratio is 1:45,854; nearly more than 92 times higher than the WHO recommended ratio. I dare say, the status quo in Pallisa is not unique, it likely prevails in other districts of Uganda as well.
While, in comparison, the Pallisa MP to population ratio is 1:55,025; as in Pallisa with a population of 275,128 people is represented in parliament by five MPs; while it is served by six doctors.
Which begs the question, what is the direct value addition to a person’s quality of life that MPs bring?
Especially so, moreover, when an MP costs Uganda a minimum of 1.6 billion shillings for a five-year term, not including sitting allowances, per diems, medical allowances, and other remuneration.
A medical doctor, on the other hand, may cost Uganda as low as 135 million shillings, or on average 369 million shillings, or at the most 624 million shillings for a five-year period. And yes, this includes everything for which they get remunerated.
Again, I ask, what value for money are ordinary Ugandan citizens getting from MPs?
The five MPs of Pallisa district, for example, cost Uganda eight billion shillings in a five-year period; while the six doctors deployed in Pallisa cost Uganda, at the most, about 3.7 billion shillings in a five-year period; less than half the cost of the MPs.
What is it that we are getting from MPs that justifies us enduring high doctor population ratios? What is it that justifies the five Pallisa MPs costing Uganda more than twice the cost of the six doctors deployed in Pallisa?
Sadly, using the example of Pallisa, this scenario fits well in the increasing tendency of the NRM Administration to put a lot more money in politicking than in effective public service delivery.
Source for Pallisa Statistics @ Pallisa District Statistical Abstract 2019/2020
Source for MP salary estimates @ Independent
Source for a doctor’s salary estimates @ Salary Explorer
Featured photo of Pallisa Medical Staff @ Pallisa District Local Government Facebook wall.