Nurses Education Reverts back to Ministry of Health after a Decade

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The Ministry of Health has regained control of nursing schools in Uganda.

The decision to move nursing schools from the Ministry of Education and Sports to the Ministry of Health was made by the Cabinet. It reverses a position taken in 1998 which placed management of the schools under the Department of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education.

This development has been welcomed as positive by professionals in the medical field. For years they have argued that the standards of medical training in the nursing schools were deteriorating fast because of the absence of direct supervision from the Ministry of Health.

Stephen Malinga, the Minister of Health, says the return of the 32 nursing schools in Uganda to his ministry is the first step in a major overhaul of nursing education. He notes that because of the declining standards of education, Ugandan markets were losing value not only in the country, but throughout Africa where Ugandan nurses were previously highly sought after.

Malinga says a number of pseudo nursing institutions will be closed for lack of basic training requirements and the training period will be increased from two-and-a-half to 3 years.

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The Health Minister says nurses currently in training will not be affected by this development. However he warns that they will all be required to pass the standard examinations before they are employed.

In Hoima district, efforts are already underway to improve nursing education.

During a regional consultative meeting this week, the Hoima Regional Referral Hospital superintendent, Dr. Emmanuel Moro, disclosed that a new nursing school would open in the western Uganda district in September this year. However he said the hospital needs more than 400 million shillings to realize this dream.

The Central Government has provided 190 million shillings for the school that will draw students from five districts in Midwestern Uganda. Each of the five shillings has contributed 20 million shillings towards the project.

The Hoima local government authorities have offered the premises of the Hoima Rural Training Centre as a temporary base for the nursing school.

Dr. Moro said 30 students will be enrolled in the first intake of the Enrolled Comprehensive Nursing program.