Current Affairs

Let’s celebrate our Ugandan Nurses: The economic power of care

Heroes in Health Award Winning Midwife - Lilian Nuwabaine Luyima (L) & CEO-Little Winnie Foundation – Winnie Nabukeera ®

When was the last time you took a moment to stop and celebrate those who take care of you when you are not feeling well health-wise? Worldwide, International Nurses Day is celebrated every 12th May annually to express gratitude to the selfless nurses at health facilities, schools, homes, in communities, offices etc.

On this day, we also recognize the nurses’ achievements, use the day to raise awareness of the nurses’ profession and reflect on how the profession should be improved to meet the changing needs of our people in the community.  

However, in Uganda, the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) rescheduled the event to 17th May 2024, in Rukungiri district, South-western Uganda so as not to conflict with the National Population Census public holiday, which was gazetted on 10th May 2024, as this would affect the movement of the delegates. This year’s theme states: Our Nurses: Our Future: The Economic Power of Care. The 2024 International Day aims to reshape perceptions of nursing, demonstrating how strategic investment in nursing can bring considerable economic and societal benefits.

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The celebrations in Rukungiri district started off in high gear in the early morning of 17th May 2024 with the smart nurses and midwives in uniform, holding their institutional banners, matching from Nyakibale Karoli Lwanga Hospital to Rukungiri Main Stadium. Meanwhile, the lovely band was playing in the background, throughout the matching.

Excited Nurses and Midwives in attendance of International Nurses Day Celebrations in Rukungiri district – Main stadium on 17th May 2024

Various stakeholders graced the event led by the Guest of honor – Her Excellency the Vice president of the Republic of Uganda – Jessica Rose Epel Alupo (on behalf of the President H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni), Cabinet Ministers like Retired Major General Hon Jim Muhwezi Katugugu (Minister of Security), Hon Members of Parliament like Hon Medius Kaharata Natukunda -Woman MP Rukungiri District.

Others included; Former State Minister for Primary Health Care – Dr Alex Kamugisha, Workers MP – Dr Abdulhu Byakatonda, Resident District Commissioners, Chairpersons LC I, III, and V, religious leaders, Ministry of Health led by Ag Commissioner Nursing and Midwifery Sr Chandia Agnes Baku, Registrar Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council – Ms Christine Nimwesiga, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examination Board, District Health Teams, heads of health facilities and training institutions, Development partners and many more.

Happy Nurses and Midwives matching in Rukungiri in celebration of International Nurses day

 While giving his speech, the newly elected President of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) – Mr Justus Cherop Kiplangat appreciated the Government of Uganda (GOU) for supporting Ugandan Nurses and Midwives in various ways such as increasing their salaries. He also went ahead to reflect on the achievements of the nurses and midwives’ union, challenges and strategies to strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforce.

Mr Cherop concluded by empathizing that Nurses and midwives are at the center of saving lives and so there is a need to ensure this profession is preserved, developed and well structured, as this will motivate them, hence improving health care for all Ugandans. 

During the Nurses’ Day celebrations, the Guest of honour, Her Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda – Jessica Rose Epel Alupo (on behalf of the President of Uganda – H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni) informed the huge number of nurses and midwives in attendance that the President of Uganda acknowledges, recognizes and appreciates their great work, a reason to why their salaries were increased.

Her Excellency also reported to have noted the nurse’s and midwives’ concerns as aired by the president of the union and promised to share/take them to the President of the Republic of Uganda.

May be an image of 11 people
Arrival of the Guest of honor – Her Excellency the Vice president of the Republic of Uganda – Jessica Rose Epel Alupo, President Uganda Nurses & Midwives Union – Mr Cherop Justus, Retired Major General Hon Jim Muhwezi Katugugu (Minister of Security), Hon Medius Kaharata Natukunda -Woman MP Rukungiri District (02nd Right), Ministry of Health led by Ag Commissioner Nursing and Midwifery – Sr Chandia Agnes Baku (R)

Before the event came to an end, some of the nurses and midwives with outstanding leadership were recognised and certificates were handed over to them by H.E Jessica Alupo. Among those who received the certificates were; Mr Isaac Wonyima (the head of Assistant District Health Officers (ADHO’s)-Maternal Child Health/Nursing & ADHO-Nwoya district, Sr Harriet Kembabazi – a senior Nursing officer at Ministry of Health Uganda and Sr Esther Taaka – a midwife and palliative care specialist working with Mbale Regional Referral Hospital among many others. 

The event had lots of entertainment by the nurses and midwives plus more. I personally enjoyed listening to and seeing fellow lovely nurses and midwives sing and dance. No wonder, I happily engaged in the dancing of the famous Kikiga traditional song and the traditional dance song from northern Uganda- Pililili Yoo Leng among many others.

Nurses and Midwives happily match to Rukungiri Main stadium in celebration of International Nurses day

In conclusion, our Ugandan Nurses and Midwives require continuous encouragement and motivation for the challenging work they perform. Since this day comes only once annually, why not share lovely happy Nurses Day messages with these caring nurses? It’s not too late to do so if you haven’t.

The author is; Lilian Nuwabaine Luyima; BSc Nurse & MSN-Midwife & Women’s’ Health Specialist, Researcher & Heroes in Health Award Winning Midwife 

More Pictorial from the Celebrations below

The Patriotic and Passionate Ugandan Nurses and Midwives singing the Nurses Anthem at International Nurses Day celebrations in Rukungiri district
Entertainment at Rukungiri main stadium during the Nurses Day celebrations

The Vice President of Uganda – H.E Jessica Alupo giving a handshake to the Ag Commissioner Nursing and Midwifery Ministry of Health – Sr Chandia Agnes Baku at the International Nurses day celebrations in Rukungiri district


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