Government through the Ministry of Health has awarded scholarships in Maternal and Child Health to over 500 students with an aim of addressing the skills gaps in service delivery.
The awards for the scholarships were officially signed on Friday at an event presided over by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine.
The scholarships are being offered under the Uganda Reproductive Maternal and Child Health Services Improvement Project which is financed by the Global Financing Facility in Support of Every Woman Every Child, the International Development Association of the World Bank and the Swedish Government.
The Ministry of Health says the scholarships focus on critical disciplines that have been considered essential for improving skills in Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health services.
In total, 536 students have been awarded the scholarships for the academic year 2018/19 and the program will cost government Shs 7.9bn. In the 2017/18 academic year, 720 students benefitted from the program.
The courses are at different levels including: Certificate, Diploma, Bachelors and Post graduate (Masters). The disciplines include Anaesthesia, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Clinical Pharmacy, Biomedical Engineering, Midwifery, Psychiatry, Pathology, Medical Radiology and Cold Chain Technician (Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) among others.
The majority of the students in the 2018/19 batch will be studying Certificate in Theatre Techniques, Diploma in (Registered) Midwifery, Diploma in Anesthesia and Ordinary Diploma in Ultrasound.
While speaking to the group of the selected students at the Ministry of Health headquarters on Friday, Dr Atwiine revealed that over 1,000 students had applied for the scholarships.
“This scheme will not pay for any retakes and you are therefore encouraged to read hard and progress normally,” she told the beneficiaries.
“We are going to require the training institutions to formally submit to us progress reports on the students under your care along with an invoice at the end of each semester to enable us process payments due in time for the following semester,” Dr Atwine added.
The Ministry of Health will bond the students on the program to serve the health sector in any part of the country for a period equivalent to the lengthy of your course.
“We reserve this right because you have been trained to fill a critical gap, it would be ineffective if after your studies you do not make a critical contribution to the health sector as has been envisioned in this scheme,” she said.
The 2016 Uganda Demographics and Health Survey figures indicated that about 6,000 women ad 45,000 newborns die annually in Uganda due to issues related to pregnancy.