By BERNARD BUSUULWA
- The Aga Khan University has commissioned 55 recent nursing graduates from the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Uganda, to serve in the country’s health sector, thereby boosting the quality of medical professionals in the country.
The Aga Khan University has commissioned 55 recent nursing graduates from the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Uganda, to serve in the country’s health sector, thereby boosting the quality of medical professionals in the country.
The university is also investing in medical infrastructure across the region.
Lack of a policy focus on human resource development has resulted in inadequate skills among medical professionals as well as staffing gaps in many government health centres.
For instance, Mulago Hospital, Uganda’s largest referral unit had 2,461 approved staff positions in the 2013/14 financial year, but only 1,880 were filled, leaving a staffing gap of 581, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
Total approved staff positions distributed among 2,998 public health units stood at 58,691 in the 2013/14 financial year with 40,375 positions filled, leaving a staffing gap of 18,316 positions, the data shows.
The country’s health sector has suffered a brain drain in the past as local medical professionals take up more attractive opportunities in Europe and the Middle East.
The Aga Khan University’s preference for “in service” professionals is, therefore, helping to mitigate this problem.
But Mahmood H. Ahmed, diplomatic representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Uganda, said it will be a while before the staffing gap is filled.
“The manpower gap in Uganda’s health sector will be filled but this will take time because of the high training costs for professionals,” said the official.
AKDN is also equipping local health centres in the West Nile region with digital scanners that will enable the analysis and diagnosis of internal body complications and sharing of knowledge with medical specialists, Mr Ahmed added.
The project is supported by the Aga Khan University’s latest $1 billion investment plan for East Africa, which is to be rolled out over a 15- year period.
Aga Khan University also plans to construct a teaching hospital in Kampala, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2020. This facility will focus on intensive research in the field of neurosciences and stem cell research alongside treatment of heart problems and non-communicable diseases.