More than 18,000 nurses and midwives in both public and private health facilities are either fake or illegal as some are practicing without valid licenses and others lack the necessary qualifications, authorities have revealed.
The revelation was made on Thursday by Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council (UNMC), a professional regulatory and supervisory body committed to the provision of quality nursing and midwifery services in the country.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Uganda nurses and midwives board, the acting UNMC registrar, Ms Rebecca Nassuna, said the demand for nurses is high and many people want to join the profession yet some nurses and midwives have not renewed their licences .
"They are more than 18,000 nurses and midwives [without valid licences]. Some are still working in public facilities," Ms Nassuna said.
She said there are 4,180 enrolled midwives and 5,760 nurses without valid practising licenses.
Ms Nassuna asked the chief administrative officers (CAOs) in various districts to work with UNMC to weed out the culprits.
"We wrote to the CAOs, they accepted to help us but they have not," she said.
According to Ms Nassuna, the council has set up satellite centres at the various regional referral hospitals to enable the health professionals to renewal their practising licences. Dr Ruth Jane Aceng, the Health minister, tasked the new council to improve the image of nurses and midwives in the country.
"Our population has complained that nurses are rude, have bad attitude and also neglect patients. The nurses and midwives practice needs to improve," Dr Aceng said.
The outgoing UNMC boss, Ms Stella Namatovu, urged the new council leadership to ensure that nurses and midwives uphold standards in health facilities.
Ms Matovu asked the team to handle the issue of the lack of qualified teaching staff, especially in new nursing schools.
Ms Elizabeth Namukombe, the new board chairperson, said the Health ministry needs to work with the council in order to deal with illegal nurses and midwives.
Other new board members include Olobo Petua Kiboko, Rebecca Nassuna, Hellen Christine Alura, Margaret Irebu, Deborah Kibicho, Patience Muwanguzi, Dr Fred Nyankori, Norah Ekata, Gertrude Kasujja, Richard Tumwesigye, Mary Gorret Musoke, Antoinette Biira and Mary Wasike.