The nursing and midwifery profession in Uganda is changing

On the 1st March 2018, the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examination Board (unmeb), an outfit under the education ministry that examines training certificate and diploma nurses and midwives, released results of it’s 24th series of State Final exams conducted 6th – 10th November 2017.

In attendence were officials from the unmeb, permanent secretaries and representatives of other stakeholders. The education minister, Mrs Kataha was not in the room. She had been unable to make it and thus was represented by Mr John C. Muyingo, a junior minister in the same organisation. It was he to deliver Mrs Kataha’s address.

Not before long Mrs Helen Mukakarisa Kataratambi, unmeb’s executive secretary, rose to announce the performance in 2017’s November state final exams. The exams had gone well, with no reports of malpractice. The numbers said it. That year’s performance had far exceeded the one before it, even with the surge in candidature from 5,500 in 2016 to 6,767 at present.

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What may have gone un-noticed, though, were the details in the education minister Mrs Janet Kataha’s address, and intent thereof, albeit in absentia. Mr John Muyingo presented the address.

Mrs Kataha’s speech spoke of the many goings, reforms – if you will – within the wider education sector with a narrowed scope of one conscious of her audience’s taste. She dwells much of her attention on the Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) programes underwhich the training of nurses and midwives lies. The speech was more an outline of her vision, a blue-print extract of the futuristic outlook Uganda’s nursing and midwifery profession ought to look.

2017’s State Final results
For starters, 6,767 candidates sat the 2017 November State Finals, an 18.7% increase of 1,267 from the 5,500 that sat in November 2016. And the numbers are growing. According to unmeb figures, November 2015 had 4,454 candidates, with 2016 registering 5500 candidates. This, Mrs Kataratambi says is “an indication of increased demand for BTVET programs in Uganda.”

The growth, it would appear, is deliberate.

With the 6,767 candidates presented coming from 67 licenced training schools, Mrs Kataha applauds the progress as being “in line with the BTVET strategic plan 2012/3 to 2012/2” which among other things envisions “increased equitable access to skills Development programs.”

This has seen the percentage of male students enrolling for nursing and midwifery programs grow by as much as 28.6%. Mrs Kataha would like to see this number grow even further. And to do that she proposes a lifting of a ban on male students to allow them enroll for midwifery programs at diploma level. Some thing she say would put Uganda at par with other East African countries.

Out of the 6,767 candidates that sat, 1930 were male candidates.

Part 2 continues