First class nursing graduate eager to fill gap in Uganda critical health care
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2022/03/first-class-nursing-graduate-eager-to-fill-gap-in-uganda-critical-health-care/
By Eriah Lule
Just a handful of the many patients admitted to Ugandan health care facilities seeking critical care and emergency nursing services receive those services. The reason? Either the infrastructure to provide the necessary services is absent or the people to operate the available equipment are not skilled enough.
Having worked in the Intensive Care Unit during her internship as a student, Catherine Iyogil, a new recipient of Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) Bachelor of Nursing Science degree, saw the gap and wants to do her part to fill it.
Iyogil graduated with a First-Class degree, garnering a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.68 out of 5.0 at UCU’s graduation held on October 22, 2021. For her feat, the university gifted Iyogil with a plaque, indicating her meritorious performance on the graduation day. The overall best student at the graduation, Sore Moureen, scored a CGPA of 4.78.
Before Iyogil plunges herself fully into the world of medical practice, she will have to jump the required hurdle of a yearlong internship to become a Registered Nurse in Uganda.
Iyogil developed the inclination to provide critical care services during her internship sessions at Naguru Hospital in Kampala, in 2019 and Soroti Hospital in eastern Uganda, in 2020. At both hospitals, she served in the ICU unit and watched firsthand, the limited number of staff providing critical care services at the facilities.
In many parts of Uganda, some severely ill people, as well as those who sustain injuries die due to lack of access to timely and effective first aid and emergency care. To make matters worse, many hospitals have no functional ambulances to offer evacuation services.
A 2019 Ambulance Census indicated that Uganda had 449 functional and 94 grounded ambulances. However, the figures could be higher than that with the recent acquisition of more ambulance vehicles to support in the management of the Covid-19 cases.
Born to Charles Okurut, a retired banker, and Iyogil Consolanta, a nurse in Ngora district, eastern Uganda, Iyogil’s love for medical practice is not surprising. Iyogil got inspired to pursue her nursing science course at UCU because it is where her mother, Consolanta, pursued her Master of Nursing Science course. When Consolata shared her unique experience at UCU, little did she know it would sway her daughter into falling in love with the institution.
And when Iyogil got to UCU, she says she was never short of people to inspire her. Iyogil looks up to Elizabeth Ekong, her former lecturer and also the Chairperson of the Uganda Nurses and Midwife’s Council. Ekong, a resilient and passionate professional, became a nurse three decades ago.
According to the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization, a nurse to patient ratio of 1:3 for emergency units; 1:2 for intensive care units; and 1:8 for other wards is recommended. However, statistics in Uganda indicate that the nurse to patient ratio is about 1:1,884. At this rate, the system could harvest a burnout on the part of the nurses.
Therefore, when people like Iyogil choose to offer medical care in the field of nursing, they are lifting a heavy load off the already stretched workforce.
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