By Patrick Kagenda
The Shs46 billion (‚¬17 million) Lubaga School of Nursing has been commissioned by the Head of Delegation of the European Union in Uganda, Vicente De` Visscher. The commissioning took place on March 30 after six and a half years of intensive work. The project which started in 1998 is a partnership between the government of Uganda through the Ministries of Education, Health and Finance. The project is aimed at developing the Human Resource for Health (DHRH) in the country. Other training institutions commissioned with the Lubaga School of Nursing include Mulago, Kibuli, Nsambya, Mengo, Kabale, Virika, Ibanda, Masaka, Kiwoko, Lira, Ngora, Jinja, Arua and Kuluva. The Lubaga School of Nursing will accommodate 120 students in nursing and midwifery disciplines.
Ambassador Visscher attributed the success of the project to teamwork among the different players, which was exhibited from the project inception to its completion. He commended the government , the European Union and the taxpayers who contributed to the building of the 15 nursing and midwifery training institutions in the country.
The ambassador said building of the institutions is timely and critical given that Uganda`s population is bound to triple by 2050. The purpose of the training institutions is to equip the nursing and midwifery trainees with knowledge and skills to care for patients. The training institutions are geared towards bridging the growing gap of qualified health personnel in the country.
Visscher called on both the training school management and the students to jealously guard the infrastructure put in place through regular maintenance and cleanliness.
“The facility you have is rare in this country, so please value it,” said Visscher. The training schools have fully stocked libraries and a computer lab. Each classroom on the facility will take 40 nurses as the maximum. Visscher cautioned against overcrowding the classrooms because this would negatively impact on the quality of teaching and the graduates. He said the Lubaga facility should be used as a centre of excellence to match the other nursing training institutions in the country.
“The European Union may not support a similar project, but will support the government of Uganda through providing budget support which can be used to build new nursing and midwifery schools. The European Union hopes the government will prioritise properly and care about the health sector,” he said.
The Minister of State for Primary Health Kamanda Batalingaya commended the EU for the project. “The completion of the Lubaga School of Nursing and Midwifery marks a very important milestone in the efforts of the government of Uganda to improve on the quality of health education in the country through creating a conducive learning environment which we have witnessed today,” Batalingaya said.
The Ministry of Education through its programme for expansion and rehabilitation of health training institutions with the support from the development partners, has made significant progress in developing the Human Resource for Health (DHRH). Batalingaya appealed for more donor aid to further develop the health sector through training of nurses and midwives.
Earlier the project coordinator, Dr Jane Egau Okou, said the they wanted to strengthen coordination among the various players involved in the provision of services related to human resource for health, strengthen capacity for HRH policy development, planning and implementation and to develop management and implementation capacity for pre-service and in-service training.
Another target was to rehabilitate and equip 15 selected health training schools across the country.
Six of the 15 selected training schools are government owned while the rest are private but not profit oriented.