The first cohort of 49 locally trained specialists has
graduated from the Uganda Heart Institute.
Previously, doctors who wanted to specialize in heart care had to travel abroad
at a total cost of 400 Million Shillings.
With just 100 Million Shillings doctors have been able to specialize in
seven cardiac disciplines at the institute. These include; adult cardiology,
cardiac nursing, cardiac critical care, cardiac anesthesia and critical care,
cardiac surgery, pediatric cardiology, perfusion technology and cardiac
Dr John Omagino, the Executive Director of Uganda Heart Institute described the
graduation as a triumph for the country. He says that they believe that the locally
trained specialists can easily adapt to the working environment in the country
compared to those who go abroad.
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The Minister of Health for Primary health care, Dr Joyce Moriku
Kaducu, asked the graduates to practice the skills they have attained.
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Annually, an estimated 1.3 million Ugandans succumb to different cardiovascular
disease that can easily be treated according to the health ministry. With the
ability to train doctors locally, Kaducu says most of these deaths will be
avoided since there will be doctors who can handle them locally.
One of the graduates Dr Ssemogerere Lameck who specializes in cardiac critical care and anesthesia says the five-year
training at the institute helped him have a strong support system.
"The local training helped me study and work. I was also able
to be with my family. My family, friends and even patients helped push me to do
better even when I was tired. If I had gone abroad, that would not have been
possible," he said.
At the graduation ceremony, the institute also launched a 583 Billion Shillings
strategic plan that will focus on establishing regional treatment centres. The plan also involves construction of the institute's permanent home in Naguru at 250 Billion Shillings.
James Magara, the chairman of the UHI says the institute's ability to teach,
train and supervise specialists means they can handle the country's heart
"In the next five years, we want the next board to focus on
building a permanent home for the Institute but that home needs human resource.
What we have seen today will ensure that when we get our home, we shall not be
a white elephant because we shall have l the required human resource," Dr