On 12th January 2018, African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) held a half day Stakeholders Consultation Workshop for harmonizing Laws on Regulation of Health Professionals aimed at strengthening Councils Capacity to oversee and regulate quality of Private Health Practices in Uganda at Hotel Africana, Kampala.
The objectives of the workshop included: to present and discuss program results, engage stakeholders to discuss the way forward on the harmonization of regulation of health professionals in Uganda and; Generate consensus on the harmonization recommendations to the Minister of Health. The Professional Council representatives were from; The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council, the Uganda Allied Health Professionals’ Council and the Uganda Pharmacy Council.
“The regulation of health professionals belonging to the same disciplines, but subscribing to different regulatory bodies continues to pose a challenge of enforcing and maintaining the desired quality and professional standards.” Dr. Sarah Byakika, Commissioner Planning at the Ministry of Health remarked while giving the opening remarks on behalf of the Director General, Ministry of Health.
Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of ACHEST while speaking on the topic: Harmonization from Training to Practice called for strengthening of the professional colleges so that the professionals themselves supervise the different practices. The surgically related professionals should be working together with the Allied Health Professionals; Anesthetic people should be working together with the doctors to achieve quality services. If the harmonization of all this is not done, we are headed for disastrous times ahead. Prof. Omaswa warned.
During the meeting, the Legal Consultant, Robert Kirunda made a presentation on the Legal reforms and progress towards harmonization and advised that, “The laws made should ensure that the professional health practitioners are comfortable to practice while the patients are adequately protected as they seek health services.”
Prof. Joel Okullo, the Chairperson for Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council applauded the USAID/Uganda Private Health Support Program for the great work done through ACHEST in contributing towards building capacity of Health professional Councils in Uganda. “The capacity of the councils has been strengthened and the councils have since gained international recognition to the point that other countries are now benchmarking from Uganda.”
The program launched in December 2015 has achieved its objectives that include updating and revision of all three Health Professionals Councils’ regulations, Streamlining laws, Consolidating and Digitizing Professional and Facility Licensing Systems and Creating Critical Tools for Quality Assurance. Harmonization of the reviewed Acts for all the councils to promote streamlined regulation of health professionals aimed at improved quality of care in Uganda remains one of the key deliverables of the project.
To achieve the harmonization process, the meeting agreed to constitute a small working group constituted by representatives from the four councils to be coordinated by the Registrars’ forum, chaired by the Ministry of Health.
Dithan Kiragga, the Chief of Party for USAID/Uganda Private Health Support Program commended ACHEST for the work well done and noted that, this has been one of the best USAID funded projects implemented with great success.
Compiled by Loice Epetiru,
Communications Specialist, African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST)