Africa-Press – Uganda. A total of 49 heart specialists have graduated after completing training at the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI). The health workers completed training in adult cardiology, paedriatic cardiology, cardiac surgery, and cardiac nursing.
Speaking at the ceremony in Kampala on Friday, Dr John Omagino, the UHI executive director, said the specialists will be crucial in the plan to open up regional heart centres across the country.
“We have come from very far as an institute, the health sector and the country in regards to cardiovascular care. This is a very important step to increase human resources that we need to address the rising burden of cardiovascular diseases in the country,” Dr Omagino said.
UHI oversees all health facilities in the country in regards to cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) diseases.
Cost of training
“It is important to note that in earlier years (2010-2015), cardiac fellows trained abroad at a cost of Shs400m per fellow. But the current graduates have been trained locally at UHI at a cost of only Shs100m each. These graduates are world class specialists,” Dr Omagino said.
“We are opening up regional centres for handling heart issues so that they don’t have to come to UHI. The graduates have all the capacity to position Uganda as a medical tourism destination for the whole world,” the UHI executive director added.
The chairman of the Board of Directors at UHI, Dr James Magara, said their biggest challenge right now is attracting and retaining highly skilled human resource.
“We are constructing a 250-bed modern facility on the land we acquired at Naguru in Kampala,” Dr Magara said. “Our focus is to increase access to care in regional centres that are being set across the country. This is in our next strategic plan for 2020-2025”, he said.
He said the strategic plan will cost them Shs583b, but more than half of the resources will go towards constructing a modern facility in Naguru.
UHI expects government and its development partners to fund the project.
Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister for Primary Healthcare, who officiated at the graduation ceremony, asked the specialists to be change agents in combatting heart diseases.
“We are requesting you (graduates) to practice what you stand for and what you learned to serve patients and in that way, God will bless you,” she said.
A woman takes her weight measurement during a health camp at Buganda Road Ground in 2019. People who are overweight and those with obesity are at higher risk of developing heart and blood vessels disease. PHOTO/FILE