KAMPALA, April 22, 2013 -- Silvo Abiria works as a Sr. Nursing Officer at Kawolo Hospital, about an hour’s drive away from Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Two years into her current assignment, she was promoted to be the head of all nurses. It was a great promotion, but it was tough for Abiria; she was a good nurse but had no management experience.
“This was a big assignment since I had to do my routine nursing roles and at the same time draw up plans, proposals and schedules for all the nurses,” Abiria said.
Many health professionals found themselves in the same dilemma as Abiria. Recognizing this need, Uganda’s Ministry of Health sought to train medical workers to become better hospital managers. Through the Bank-supported Uganda Health Systems Strengthening Project (UHSSP) several scholarships are offered to enhance the capacity of hospital managers.
Abiria is one of the 349 health facility managers and administrators who were sponsored through the program to undertake Master’s degrees and diplomas in management-related fields at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi. Some of the beneficiaries include health workers in the underserved and hard-to-reach areas.
“When I heard of the scholarships under UHSSP for Master’s degrees in hospital management and administration, I applied immediately and today, I am happy to be one of the beneficiaries,” said Abiria. Other beneficiaries include technicians, dispensers and clinical officers.
The specially arranged Master’s program in hospital management and administration is aimed at strengthening health service delivery especially in medical facilities outside the capital. Abiria explains that the program has motivated her and the staff she supervises because of the better personnel management skills she has acquired.
“Because of how I treat them now, my staff is able to understand each other and work well. This has, in fact, reduced conflict among them and they are able to attend to patients more effectively,” Abiria said. “Managing people requires a lot of skills and I believe I have acquired them through my training.”
Echoing Abiria’s sentiments, Ezra Bigira, a Sr. Clinical Officer from Ntungamo district, says the training has made him and his team better at teamwork. “I have managed to take my colleagues through some management modules and this has helped us all appreciate the need for teamwork,” he said.
Bigira is optimistic that at the end of the course, he will be a much better human resource and hospital manager.
The beneficiaries of the scholarships, drawn from all over Uganda, are expected to return and work in their home districts for a minimum period equivalent to the time of study.