A narrow straight cul-de-sac ushers one to the tucked away but quiet and serene environment that is Lubaga Health Training school. Once passed to the gate, a few strides inside with a turn to the right brings one to face the unasnm offices.
The offices are housed in a brown-metallic shipment container. A bill-board hinged to it’s artificial roof structure and on it scribed the ‘Uganda National Association Student Nurses and Midwives (UNASNM) let’s one know they’re at the right address.
The structure is rather incongruous with the block structures that form the training school. These are the unasnm national offices.
A brief conversation with members of the association’s top organ, it’s executive — the National Executive Committee (NEC) — and it’s clear why the association is housed in such a structure. It’s money, they say. They do not have the finances to own a home of their own.
Debts accruing to lack of payment are carried-on and increasingly become a burden to successive NEC executives.
This is a sharp contrast to what most of it’s members — the student nurses and midwives — know of the NEC. To them, the NEC is where all the money is. After all, part of their tution payments are remitted to the unasnm account as a one-off subscription payment fee when one joins nursing or midwifery school.
For a student association that’s existed for 30yrs and as well spread-out as the UNASNM and with a presence (a branch office) at almost every, if not all, nursing schools in Uganda, working to boost the academic stature of nursing and midwifery students, it’s hard to imagine it being cash-strapped.
The association completely relies on the ‘good-will’ of Principals of the member nursing schools to remit the unasnm funds that are periodically deducted off nursing and midwifery student’s tuition. The Principals are yet to demonstrate ‘good-will’ to the association.
Most nursing and midwifery schools are heavy defaulters when it comes to remitting the unasnm funds.
A situation that has slowed-down the unasnm activities and crippled it’s ability to deliver on not only the association objectives but also the implimentation of the NEC executives that are sworn in every February only to end their term of service with little to show for their time spent in office.
The Principals of defaulting nursing and midwifery schools have let-down the unasnm, and with it the hopes and aspirations of many of the nursing and midwifery students. They need to settle their out standing balances with the unasnm. It’s the least they can do for the wider student nursing and midwifery fraternity. To love and serve.