What you need to know:
- Mr Brian Kasaija, an activist, says 78 nursing schools are operational without being gazetted, which is illegal.
The Nurses and Midwives Council has been dragged to court over failure to gazette 78 nursing schools in Uganda as provided in the law.
The respondents are the High Education Students Financing Board (HESFB) and its nine board members, who include Rev Fr Prof Callisto Locheng, Robert Odok Oceng, Prof Christine Dranzoa, Rev Can Dr Alex Mugisha Kagume, William Ndoleriire, Legesi Stephen Mwanika, Solome Mayinja Luwaga, Esther Kyozira, and Michael Wanyama.
In his lawsuit filed last Friday before the High Court in Kampala, Mr Brian Kasaija, a human rights activist, claims that for more than 24 years, there are 78 operational training institutions in Uganda, however, none have been gazetted as required under the Nurses and Midwives Act rendering their operations illegal.
“That under Section 22(2) of the Nurses and Midwives Act 1996 Cap 274, the registrar of the Council has a mandatory legal duty after the 1st day of January and not later than March 31 each year to put in the gazette and an up-to-date register and roll maintained under this section,” Mr Kasaija states.
He further explains that the council has since 1996 only gazetted a register and roll for 2018, which is unlawful as it was submitted for publication under a wrong law.
Mr Kasaija says the council under Section 33 is mandated to publish in the gazette the nurse health units and maternity homes, including the name, address, qualifications, date of registration of the medical or dental practitioner supervising conditions attached to the licence, however the same have never been published.
According to the court documents, (HESFB) and its board members are accused of failing to publish the list of all approved and successful applicants in the gazette , making it difficult to retrieve the loans issued since its existence in 2014.
“HESFB has a legal duty and obligation to publish the list of all approved applicants in the gazette as commanded under Section 21(3)(b) of HESFB Act,2014 but it has deliberately omitted and willfully failed to publish the said list of all approved applicants and instead annually issued out loans and scholarships to ungazetted applicants with impunity,” reads in part Mr Kasaija’s claim.
Court documents indicate that government has since 2014 issued out funds not less than Shs36 billion to enable HESFB execute its statutory legal obligations, however, this cannot be retrieved from students as it was illegal having been done without gazetting the applicants and beneficiaries.
Mr Kasaija now wants a declaration that all loans rendered to students from 2014 are null and that the individual members of the Board should refund the said money and an order compelling them to resign in public interest for failure to perform their duties.
He is also seeking a declaration proclaiming that there is no register and roll of nurses and midwives in accordance with the Nurses and Midwives Act 1996 Cap 274.
The 78 training institutions include Arua School of Nursing, Butabika School of Psychatric Nursing, Jinja School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kabale School of Enrolled Comprehensive Nursing, Lira School of Comprehensive Nursing, Masaka School of Comprehensive Nursing, Mulago Health Tutor’s College, Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery, Public Health Nurses College.
Others are; Soroti School of Comprehensive Nursing, Bugongi College of Nursing and Midwifery, Ishaka 7th Day Adventist School of Nursing, Nsambya School of Nursing, Mukono Diocese School of Nursing, Lacor School of Nursing, Mbale School of Nursing, Mukono Diocese School of Nursing, Lubaga Health Training Institution, Fortportal International Nurses Training School, Kumi School of Nursing and Midwifery and the rest of the duly-recognised Nursing institutions in the country.