While technical skills and expertise are crucial for healthcare professionals, the Education and Sports minister, Janet Museveni, is concerned that their ethical behavior is consistently being challenged by the general public, writes YUDAYA NANGONZI.
The minister said Uganda’s healthcare system is affected by unethical behaviors such as poor attitude towards work and absenteeism of health workers.
“There is a big outcry about our health care professionals. Sometimes, they are rude and don’t bother to take care of patients. They are abusing technology by being 24/7 on WhatsApp and other social sites while forgetting patients on the hospital beds,” Janet said, in a speech read on her behalf by the state minister for Primary Education, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, at the 15th graduation ceremony of Uganda Institute of Allied Health and Management Sciences (UIAHMS) Mulago last week.
She expressed her dismay at health workers who fail to handle patients with tenderness and love which are critical to a patient’s mental wellbeing to ease recovery.
“Please be health workers that Uganda needs; full of ethical values and commitment to serve and to drive this nation to another level. Your profession is nothing without love for humanity. You work with sick people who need just a simple smile from the health worker as you take care of them,” Janet added.
At least 746 graduates were awarded certificates, and basic and post-basic diplomas in programs such as pharmacy, audiology radiography, dental technology, anesthesia, and Ear, Nose, Throat, and neck surgery. Janet encouraged the graduates to strive towards acquiring higher qualifications because medicine is dynamic and new diseases are emerging every day.
MORE ALLIED WORKERS NEEDED
According to the UIAHMS chairperson, Dr Charles Matsiko, there’s need to train more allied health professionals to meet the demand of the health sector for both diagnostic and clinical care at all levels.
Uganda’s disease burden is dominated by communicable diseases such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, malaria, respiratory tract infections, and diarrheal diseases which account for more than 50% of morbidity and mortality.
“Whereas the institution emphasizes practical teaching and learning, we are not training enough frontline health workers to meet
the country’s needs. The institution has limited teaching and learning space for training the required scientists to address emerging health conditions,” Matsiko said.
This is in addition to limited well-trained and established full-time tutors.
“Most of the teaching is done by part-time tutors and mentors in hospitals. This is rather cumbersome and increases the costs of running these programs. The current staffing for full-time tutors stands at 13%,” he said.
Matsiko said UIAHMS, with a population of 2,644 students, also has no administration block to coordinate all the training programs as the institution is still using borrowed premises inside Mulago hospital.
In her message, the UIAHMS principal, Rose Nassali, urged the graduates to offer quality care and be ethical, kind, and committed to their profession as they join the job market.
“Go out to the community to serve and save humanity. Let your service with integrity do more for those in need and the vulnerable, rather than thinking about enriching yourselves at the expense of healthcare. You have been called to serve, rescue the perishing, and to care for the dying,” Nassali said.
Meanwhile, the best-performing graduands from each program were recognized with certificates. Geofrey Ikomba from the Health Management and Leadership program topped the list with the highest CGPA of 4.8. Herbert Asiki and Brian Ssekate followed him from the Clinical and Community Nutrition program, Kennedy Bbosa Ayikofezu (Pharmacy), Joseph Ssegane (Physiotherapy), and Deus Abowe (Health Promotion and Education) – all with a CGPA of 4.6.