By Drake Nyamugabwa.
Uganda Medical Laboratory Technology Association (UMLTA) is spearheading a continuous professionals’ development training of over 2500 medical laboratory professionals; for a period of about two months; across the country, aimed at improving laboratory professionalism and health service delivery.
The launch of the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme was organized by the Uganda Medical Laboratory Technology Association (UMLTA), held at UNHLS offices in Kampala’s Butabika Hospital, last Wednesday.
The Chief Guest, Assistant Commissioner; National Disease Control, Dr. Allan Muruta, while officiating at the function; said that CPD learners activities are to enhance their ability to discover new technologies, adding that there is need to enforce the law on laboratories that will enable the professionals remain relevant and to curb the culprits, who are misusing labs through giving false results to patients.
Brenda Mushabe, the UMLTA President; noted that the CPD program is intended to improve laboratory professionalism, since it is critical in shaping the health care delivery systems and vital in disease detection and follow-up of treatment to outcomes, in hospitals and health centres. Mushabe said this year’s CPD, is focusing on Hepatitis B, customer care and ethics and professionalism. She said Hepatitis B is priority because it is a major health problem in Uganda; with a prevalence of 10 per cent (affecting 3.5million people in the population).
“Since lab professionals are at risk of getting exposed to infected blood and various body fluids in their routine work, this CPD program will give them skills on how to handle samples suspected of Hepatitis B,” Mushabe said.
In the same vein, Kenneth Kabagambe, the executive director of the National Organization for People Living with Hepatitis B (NOPLHB), said 80 percent of the liver cancers in Uganda are also caused by Hepatitis B. Dr. Susan Nabadda, a Consultant Pathologist at Mulago Hospital, said that the government strategy for Hepatitis B is to improve screening, testing and access to testing services among others. “Government’s strategy includes; increasing access to laboratory tests for hepatitis B up to the lower Health Centre III, controlling quality of testing, training and building capacity in diagnosing hepatitis B and linking of people who have tested positive to health centers, for viral load testing and treatment”. Nabadda said.
“The training is also expected to refresh professionals to maintain competence in light of the ever-changing scope of practice and technological advances in the medical sciences”.
“The government is also in line with the training to equip health facilities; to be able to diagnose a number of diseases, with the main focus on Hepatitis B whose prevalence rate has proved to be higher than other diseases; like HIV and Malaria”, added Nabadda.