By Christine Nimwesiga, Registrar, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council
For the last century, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council has been operating manually at its head office in Kampala and at regional satellite centers. The manual operation required Nurses and Midwives to travel long distances and queue for a long period at the Council offices in Kampala for services.
The manual process greatly impacted Nurses and Midwives financially because it had a cost implication and also affected their presence on duty since they had to travel and send a day or two in Kampala and this in the due course affected the quality of care provided to patients.
Also, the Covid-19 pandemic was a game changer; the pandemic came with several intervention measures to curb the spread, this included a lockdown that restricted movements. The movement restriction met that nurses and midwives would not travel and during that period, the Council experienced difficulties in regulating its professionals due to their inability to access the manual services.When lockdown was lifted, The Council offices were overwhelmed by huge numbers of professionals who had gone months without renewing and registering.
This paralyzed Council’s service delivery for some weeks.Therefore, reflecting on the challenges of the manual process, in November 2022, the Council launched an online registration and licensure system and rolled it out in a phased manner.The system started with registration and licensure of Nurses and Midwives, and later to registration and licensure of private health units in April 2023.
The system readily allows printing out a copy of the digitalized license as the Nurse or Midwife wait for the original copy. System launch and pilot was concurrently strengthened by sensitizations that were carried out throughout the Country to encourage nurses and midwives utilize the online system. The online registration and licensure system has been well received by professionals and according to our available data, so far, 4,908 Nurses and Midwives have been registered and licensed using the system, and 35 private health units have also been legalized using the same system.
Feedback received has shown that Nurses and Midwives are able to access services at their homes and duty stations, which has enabled them provide timely care to their patients, and save funds that could have transported them to Kampala.The system has been rated as friendly, reliable, and accessible because to use the system, a Nurse or Midwife is only required to: 1) log onto the system portal using www.registration.unmc.ug, 2) create an account, 3) upload required documents with a 50x55mm sized colored passport photo, 4) wait for approval to the next steps.