By Christopher Ogwang
International Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 12th to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. This day is an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of nurses to society, raise awareness about the challenges they face and find possible solutions to them.
Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system, providing compassionate care, emotional support, and life-saving interventions to patients in need. This year, let us take a moment to highlight the challenges that nurses face in low-income countries like Uganda, where the shortage of equipment and supplies is a significant barrier to providing quality care.
Uganda, like many other low-income countries, is struggling with a severe shortage of healthcare equipment and supplies. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), Uganda has only 1.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people and a severe shortage of medical equipment, including diagnostic tools, surgical instruments, and anesthesia equipment. This shortage of equipment has a direct impact on the quality of care that nurses can provide, as they often have to work with outdated or insufficient tools.
The shortage of equipment is particularly evident in lower-level healthcare facilities, such as health centers, which are often located in rural areas. These facilities often lack basic equipment like stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometers, making it challenging to diagnose and treat patients.
On this Nurse International Day, let us take a moment to recognize the challenges that nurses in low-income countries like Uganda face every day. We must work together to address the shortage of equipment and supplies and ensure that nurses have the tools they need to provide quality care to their patients. By investing in healthcare infrastructure and supporting initiatives that provide equipment and supplies, we can help nurses in Uganda provide the care their patients deserve.
The writer is a Senior programme officer at CEHURD in the Campaigns, Partnerships and Networks Programme.