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The Nursing Profession in Uganda

Introduction: Uganda

The selected country for this exercise in Uganda. This African nation has been recording high mortality rates within the past seven decades. The nation has been selected because it is characterized by political unrest and inadequate human welfare policies (Hale, 2012). Around 20 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The electoral dictatorship experienced in Uganda affects the economic and social aspects of the people. The discussion will present powerful insights that can be used by nurses to maximize the health outcomes of more citizens in the country.

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Uganda is one of the East African nations. The country “is in the heart of the Great Lakes region” (Hale, 2012, p. 12). The “neighboring nations include Kenya on the east, the Democratic Republic of Congo on the west, South Sudan on the north, and Tanzania on the south” (Hale, 2012, p. 8). Uganda is “landlocked, and its geographical coordinates are 1°00′N 32°00′E” (Hale, 2012, p. 38). This nation has a total area of 241,551 square kilometers. Around 41,000 sq. kilometers are covered by water (Hale, 2012). The Equator passes across Uganda.


The latest statistics indicate that Uganda has a total population of over 39.5 million people (Nakate, Dahl, Petrucka, Drake, & Dunlap, 2015). The country’s population has been growing steadily within the past few years. For instance, the population increased by 3.2 percent from 2015 to 2016. This fact shows clearly that the economy has been growing positively within the past fifteen years.


Uganda is headed by a president. The current president is called Yoweri Museveni. The executive power in the country is usually undertaken by the national government (Hale, 2012). The president is the head of both the government and the state. All citizens above the age of eighteen are allowed to vote in the country. The other important thing is that the country has a multiparty system.


Economic experts believe strongly that Uganda is one of the African nations with numerous natural resources. The nation’s economy has the potential to support the welfare of more citizens. The nation has experienced ineffective political forces since its independence. The forces have continued to affect their economic strength. This fact explains why Uganda is categorized as one of the least-developed countries in the globe (Hale, 2012). From 1981, the country received financial aid in order to promote economic development. However, the political strife experienced from 1984 affected the nation’s economic performance. In 2015, the nation’s GDP stood at 26.3 billion dollars (Hale, 2012. This means that the economy has been growing rapidly.

State of Health: Diseases, Violence, and Accidents

Many people in Uganda are affected by different diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/Aids (Tashobya & Ogwal, 2014). The government has also ignored a number of health conditions such as leprosy, sleeping sickness, and filariasis. Specific conditions, such as cancer and diabetes, affect the wellbeing of many people in Uganda.

Violence and crime are critical challenges affecting the welfare of many citizens in the nation. For instance, crime occurs in many regions in the country. Petty crime is also common in Uganda. Cybercrime has also increased within the past decade (Tashobya & Ogwal, 2014). Deviance is another problem experienced in different societies. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that Uganda records the largest number of traffic accidents annually. This problem is attributable to the nature of infrastructure in the country. The country does not record increased cases of political or ethnic violence. However, its borders “are porous and inadequately policed” (Tashobya & Ogwal, 2014, p. 3). Terror attacks have been recorded in Uganda within the past ten years. Drug trafficking is another major challenge affecting many Ugandans.

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Culture/Traditional Medicine

Traditional cultural practices experienced in Uganda have numerous implications on the health outcomes of the citizens. Some of these practices are used during childbirth and the management of different diseases. Herbal medicines and rituals are embraced in different parts of the country (Tashobya & Ogwal, 2014). Traditional healers are consulted by many people in Uganda. Some malpractices such as wife inheritance and female genital mutilation (FGM) have affected the welfare of marginalized people in the country. Some diseases, such as HIV/Aids, have increased due to these cultural practices.

According to the International Institute of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (IIACM), traditional medicine is taken seriously in Uganda. There are different companies and institutions that support the use of herbal medicine in the nation. Private firms have come up with different herbal medicines to treat various diseases such as cancer and diabetes (Bouchard, Kohler, Orbinski, & Howard, 2012). The government supports the use of traditional medicines to improve the country’s healthcare system.

Healthcare System and Delivery

The healthcare system of Uganda is a referral in nature (Tashobya & Ogwal, 2014). Patients are usually expected to receive healthcare support from different hospitals. Many healthcare facilities do not have adequate drugs. Corruption is also recorded in many institutions across the nation. Many patients are required to purchase medicinal drugs from private pharmacies. This issue affects the health outcomes of many citizens in the country.

Governmental health-related agencies and health regulatory organizations

The Ministry of Health is an agency that focuses on the best approaches to support the health outcomes of more people in the country. The ministry has several departments aimed at promoting the quality of care in the country. The Ministry of Health mobilizes the best resources in order to support the nation’s healthcare system (Bouchard et al., 2012). The Uganda Healthcare Federation (UHF) is a powerful agency that supports and guides different bodies in the country. The government has established several agencies to regulate the healthcare sector. The first one is the National Drug Authority (NDA). The agency regulates and monitors the performance of different companies and healthcare institutions. The Allied Health Professional’s Council (AHPC) Uganda plays a significant role “of supervising and controlling the training, practice, and other related matters of healthcare practitioners in the country” (The Allied Health Professional’s Council Uganda, 2016, para. 3). These governmental health-related agencies play a critical role towards supporting the nature of the country’s healthcare sector.

Healthcare personnel and hospitals

Uganda is believed to have around 4,800 healthcare facilities (Bouchard et al., 2012). The number of nurses for every 100,000 citizens is around 140 (Nakate et al., 2015). On the other hand, 12 doctors are available to provide medical care to 100,000 people in Uganda (Nakate et al., 2015). The other important thing to consider about this nation is that the best healthcare institutions are located in urban areas. This happens to be the case despite the fact that 84 percent of the nation’s population is in different rural areas.

Nursing education system and accrediting organizations

After completing their O-levels, students who want to become nurses can join different institutions in the nation. The government finances several nursing and health institutions that support the needs of the learners. Some of the leading nursing schools include Masaka School of Comprehensive Nursing, Public Health Nurses College, Arua School of Nursing, and Jinja School of Nursing and Midwifery (Zuyderduin, Obuni, & McQuide, 2010). There are also private and faith-based nursing institutions. The country has several universities that offer nursing courses.

Some of these universities include Mbarara, Makerere, and Kampala International University (Hale, 2012). The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health oversee the effectiveness of the nursing programmes associated with these learning institutions. Several accrediting agencies in the country ensure that more students complete their courses and acquire adequate skills. These organizations include the Uganda National Council of Higher Education (UNCHE) and the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council (UNMC). The agencies have continued to play a positive role towards ensuring the targeted students are qualified and capable of providing evidence-based care to their patients.

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Nursing associations

There are two associations that support the welfare of nurses in this country. The first one is the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU). The agency supports the welfare of many nurses and equips them with new competencies. The organization offers powerful insights to enhance the learning process in the country. The Uganda Private Midwives Organization (UPMA) has a membership of over 2,000 practitioners (Zuyderduin et al., 2010). The agency collaborates with the UNMU to support the needs of its members.

Health Priorities

Several health priorities should be taken seriously in Uganda. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Uganda’s healthcare system is underdeveloped and incapable of providing adequate care to the population (Bouchard et al., 2012). Different non-governmental agencies and government-based organizations collaborate in order to address the major health challenges affecting many citizens in the country.

To begin with, Uganda continues to record increased cases of HIV/Aids and malaria. The geographical location of the country explains why malaria is a major health challenge. Drug-resistant tuberculosis has become a new challenge in the nation. The government should therefore be on the frontline to support the health needs of every individual affected by these diseases. Accidents and crime are common in the country. Positive measures aimed at treating the victims and reducing accidents in the nation can produce desirable results (Nakate et al., 2015). Policy measures are needed to improve the level of healthcare access especially in the rural areas. When these health priorities are taken seriously, it will be possible to improve the health outcomes of many Ugandans.

Conclusion: Nursing Implications

The nursing profession in Uganda should change in an attempt to address the issues affecting different citizens. Nursing schools should begin by equipping the earners with appropriate skills in order to provide culturally competent and evidence-based care. Nurses should also collaborate with one another to come up with better healthcare delivery models (Bouchard et al., 2012). The government should provide adequate resources in order to support the welfare of the nurses and their patients. Nurses should engage in lifelong learning. By so doing, they will acquire new ideas in order to diagnose the above diseases and eventually offer timely support to their patients. Nurses should also form multidisciplinary teams whenever providing quality care to different populations. The teams will ensure the health priorities affecting the nation are taken into consideration. Such roles and contributions will play a unique role towards addressing the health needs of many citizens.


Bouchard, M., Kohler, J., Orbinski, J., & Howard, A. (2012). Corruption in the health care sector: A barrier to access of orthopaedic care and medical devices in Uganda. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 12(1), 1-16.

Hale, M. (2012). On Uganda’s terms. New York, NY: CCB Publishing.

Nakate, G., Dahl, D., Petrucka, P., Drake, K., & Dunlap, R. (2015). The nursing documentation dilemma in Uganda: Neglected but necessary. A case study at Mulago National Referral Hospital. Open Journal of Nursing, 5(1), 1063-1071.

Tashobya, C., & Ogwal, O. (2014). Primary health care and health sector reforms in Uganda. Web.

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The Allied Health Professional’s Council Uganda. (2016). Web.

Zuyderduin, A., Obuni, J., & McQuide, P. (2010). Strengthening the Uganda nurses’ and midwives’ association for a motivated workforce. International Nursing Review, 1(1), 1-24.

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