Allied health professionals seek govt sponsorship

The State Minister for Higher Education,  Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo,  during the release of the allied health professionals’ exams results on Friday.  Photo | Sylivia Katushabe 

What you need to know:

  • According to Mr Angondua, the demand for allied health professionals is high but the uptake in certain fields is extremely low.

Allied health professional institutions have advised the government to start sponsoring their upgrade courses to attract more numbers following the low turnout at the 2021 and 2022 examinations.

Speaking during the release of the November /December 2022 Uganda Allied Health Examinations Board examinations results on Friday at the office of the Prime Minister in Kampala, the Secretary, Uganda Allied Health Examinations Board (UAHEB), Mr Joseph Angondua said the demand for allied health professionals is high but the number of those going for intake and upgrade is very limited partly due to high tuition and the requirement for self-sponsorship.

The final year candidates in all the programme categories were less in number compared to that of the previous academic year 2021.

In the 2021 final year examinations in all categories at certificate level, a total of 3,660 sat for the final examinations,  of whom 56 percent  (2,039) were males and 1,621 (44 percent) females.

In 2022, the number dropped to 3,367, with male candidates amounting to 1,789 (53 percent) and females at 1,578 (47 percent).

 At higher diploma level, only 283 students sat for the examinations, of whom 148 were male (52 percent) and 135 (48 percent) were female compared to 227 in 2022, with 114 (50 percent) male and 113 (50 percent) female candidates.

According to Mr Angondua, the demand for allied health professionals is high but the uptake in certain fields is extremely low.

In higher diploma programmes, only eight candidates were registered in 2022  for Ear, Nose, Throat and Neck Surgery, two for Audiology, three for Clinical Psychiatry, 18 for Clinical Ophthalmology, seven for Health Promotion and Education and 71 for Anaesthesia.

“In Audiology, only two candidates sat for the examinations and other programmes have a list of less than 10 sitting for the exams. Being upgrading courses, they attract self-sponsorship and unfortunately when many of them go back after doing the upgrading course, they don’t get the incentive of the additional salary in addition to the courses themselves being expensive,” explains Angondua.

According to Mr Angondua, the majority of graduates are absorbed in government jobs because they are employed at district level in all the health facilities: health centre III, IVs, district hospitals,  regional referral hospitals.

He added: “A number of them work with local governments, others go for community works, so the job market is wide. For them they don’t necessarily float, many of them get absorbed into those jobs except in situations when there was a ceiling in recruitment by Public Service because when you look at the starting norms and the output, I think we are yet to go for some years to meet the demand for the staffing.”

While releasing the results, the Minister of State for Higher Education,  Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo,  reiterated government’s decision to merge UAHEB with Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board (UMINEB).

“I want to take this opportunity to remind you that Cabinet made a decision to merge a number of agencies including UAHEB to be merged with UMINEB. It’s therefore my prayer that all key stakeholders cooperate to ensure that the transition to the new board is successfully implemented,” he said.

Uganda has a total of 71 allied health training institutions but only 20 are government-owned.

Allied health workers are groups of professions within the healthy sector who are not doctors and nurses.

Those in the allied health profession include laboratory, radiography, physiotherapy, dentistry,  medical entomology and medial radiography workers.