Medical school graduates hailing from Amhara region blamed the regional government for its failure to assign them to various health facilities that have staffing shortages. They say the region’s Health Bureau did not assign them because of limitations in budgetary supplies.
In the past, graduates from medical schools in the country were assigned to different posts across Ethiopia by the Ministry of Health. However, the Ministry abandoned this practice and gave the mandate of assigning medical school graduates to regional governments. But these students from Amhara region say the region has failed them.
“As soon as the medical students graduate from universities, they are expected to report to their respective region’s health bureaus and are given placements deemed needed by the regional health bureaus. These graduates in Amhara region have done what is required from their side,” Abera Terefe (MD) /Name changed upon request/, one of the complaining graduates told The Reporter.
According to the graduates, they graduated the previous year after successfully passing the medical school exit exam. They returned to the Amhara regional state and reported to the region’s Health Bureau to be assigned to health facilities. Nevertheless, the bureau rejected their requests and told them that there are no vacancies for graduates of the previous year.
Research shows that there are shortages of medical practitioners in the country. In contrast, the number of health and related problems are high in Amhara region. Although other regions enacted laws that mandate their respective health bureaus to assign unemployed medical school graduates in vacant positions, the Amhara region failed to do the same for lack of budget, according to demonstrating medical doctors that took to the streets last week in Bahir Dar city.
Bereket Girma (MD) /Name changed upon request/, a Gondar University graduate, however, admits that although they are allowed to travel abroad and work in foreign countries, language skills hinder them from submitting successful applications.
According to the demonstrators, the number of graduates who marched in demand of employment is about 400. But, busy with election preparations, the Bureau officials did not entertain their requests.
The Amhara Medical Practitioners Association has voiced its concerns to the Ministry of Health at the federal level and requested for them to be allowed to freely work in any part of the country. However, the Ministry said that it is not its mandate to force regional governments hire medical school graduates, Bereket told The Reporter.