The First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Janet Museveni has underscored the need for Governments in the East African Community States to continue investing in nurses and midwives who she said play a critical role in the delivery of health care to the majority of the population.
“We in East Africa need to continue to develop the nurses and midwifery professionals by providing them with tools to perform their work in the changing world. We must as Governments and leaders really try to provide the necessary environment, invest in their education by providing quality instruction and support nurses and midwives in their studies so that they reach their true potential for the benefit of the people. We need to provide them with opportunities for professional development and a working environment suitable to their needs so that they can better serve the patients”, she said.
The First Lady was speaking during the opening ceremony of the Regional Alumni Conference 2015 for the Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery on Thursday 30/07/2015 at Lake Victoria Serena Resort in Lweza.
The two day conference which collected alumni, nursing educators and researchers from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania run under the theme “Nurses and Midwives leading the way: Making an impact”.
She said that nurses and midwives who make up the largest workforce in the health sector system need to be acknowledged and recognized for their contribution to the health of the people.
“In Uganda most Health Centre IIs at Parish level are led by either an enrolled nurse or an enrolled midwife”.
She acknowledged that huge efforts are needed to ensure that the daily increasing and changing population benefit from strong health services and standard care.
Janet Museveni lauded Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery for building the capacities of nurses and midwives in the East African region and for its efforts to harmonize the nursing education, practice and accreditation in the East African partner States through the East African Community platform.
She said this will prevent nurses and midwives going through long processes to register in each country.
Since its inception in 2002, Aga Khan University in East Africa has graduated over 2,000 nurses in various programmes.
These include post-registration nurses, Bachelors of Science in Nursing, enrolled nurse to registered nurse diplomas and specialist diplomas in accidents, emergency and disaster management.
These Aga Khan graduates now hold leadership positions in the nursing and midwifery profession, Nursing schools and hospitals.
They have also contributed tremendously in community outreach leadership and research.
She congratulated them for being reputed to make a significant mark wherever they are deployed, as well as being motivated and ethical professionals.
“I salute you and I pray that this discipline and excellence can be imitated by other training institutions across the region”, she said.
Professor Yasmin Amarsi, Dean Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa said a study was carried out and recommendations made to the East African Community Secretariat for harmonization of Nursing in East Africa.
Dr Ama Kasangala the Chief Nursing Officer in the Ministry of Health and Social welfare in the United Republic of Tanzania gave a keynote address on trends and issues affecting and influencing the Nursing and Midwifery profession and medical care in the East African region.
Professor Kweku Bentil Vice Provost Aga Khan University, Dr Robert Armstrong, Dean Medical College Aga Khan University East Africa and Frank Welvaert from Johnson and Johnson were among other dignitaries who attended the alumni conference opening ceremony.