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Government to set up National Health Authority

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th April 2014 09:38 AM

The Government is to set up a new agency to handle the licensing and regulation of all healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities in Uganda.

Government to set up National Health Authority

The Government is to set up a new agency to handle the licensing and regulation of all healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities in Uganda.

By Taddeo Bwambale

The Government is to set up a new agency to handle the licensing and regulation of all healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities in Uganda.

The National Health Regulatory Authority will also be responsible for enforcing standards of safety, quality and performance of health workers, regardless of their speciality.

The medical profession is regulated by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council and the Allied Health Professionals Council.

Dr. Margaret Mungherera, a member of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, revealed that the authority would be the supreme oversight body for the health profession.

She made the disclosure at a press briefing Monday to mark the annual World Health Workers Week held to draw attention to the role and challenges of health workers globally.

“We are coming up with a Bill to establish the Authority. This will help us to harmonise policies and efforts to regulate the profession,” Mungherera said.

All medical workers will be required to register with the Authority, regardless of the area of specialisation, in addition to paying a practising fee.

The Authority will be in charge of investigating patient complaints and will be the only authority by law to determine the occurrence of medical errors. It will also be the authority responsible for authorising clinical experimental research.

In East Africa, Kenya and Tanzania have initiated the process to set health regulatory authorities to license doctors, pharmacists, nurses and allied health workers.

According to Mungherera, an East African Community (EAC) health regulatory authority will be formed after all member states establish national authorities.

She explained that the establishment of a regional body would allow Ugandan professionals to work in any of the EAC states, in line with the common market protocol.

The World Health Organisation recommends the establishment of national health regulatory authorities, in the wake of rising quality concerns and technical issues arising from rapid scientific advances.

Mungherera urged the Government to regulate the work of Village Health Teams (VHTs) who are trained volunteers equipped to diagnose and treat malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.

In 2000, VHTs were introduced to help increase access to health services for communities that were distant from health facilities.

The model has since been replicated in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa which have reported significant gains in health service delivery.

VHTs are chosen among literate students from P5 to O’level, trained in case management and given kits for diagnosing and treating ailments such as malaria.

VHTs are mostly trained to treat children under the age of five who suffer from malaria, while others have received training to administer family planning injections.

They are also engaged to mobilise communities for public health campaigns such as immunisation, nutrition and hygiene.

Government to set up national health authority

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