U.K., Ugandan Government sign new healthcare alliance

A Ugandan-UK Healthcare Alliance, which will help improve health care for people living in the East African country, has been launched this week after being developed by a University of Manchester health professional.

Two members of the Ugandan Department of Health met senior University medics and members of the Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre (MAHSC) on a fact-finding mission to the UK as part of the Alliance launch.

Professor Ged Byrne, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, set up the alliance after gaining approval from Lord Nigel Crisp member of the House of Lords who specialises on international development and global health.

Professor Byrne, who is also Director of the University Hospital of South Manchester Academy, said: "The Alliance will formalise arrangements between the Ugandan Government and UK-based aid efforts from the NHS, corporate and charitable sectors who place volunteers in Uganda.

"It will help to co-ordinate UK volunteers and healthcare aid agencies who wish to work in Uganda so that they are providing the services most needed by the Ugandans themselves and encourage cooperation between different volunteer groups ensuring that every pound that is spent on Ugandan aid brings the best value for money for donors.

"The current life expectancy in Uganda is 52 and we hope that this Alliance can help extend life expectancy and help Uganda to reach its Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations which include improving maternal health and reducing child mortality rates."

After a formal launch of the Alliance in Westminster, Uganda health officials Enid Mwebaza, Commissioner of Nursing, and Dr George Mukone, Commissioner for National Disease Control, met health experts in the North West to find out about how they could work together to help improve training for health practitioners.

Professor Ian Jacobs, Dean of The University of Manchester's Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, who runs programmes to improve health in Uganda, hosted a meeting and said the visit had opened up new opportunities to help improve training and access to medical treatment. Professor Jacobs, who is also Head of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) a partnership between the University and six NHS organisations, said: "It has been a privilege to be involved in improving health in Uganda in my role as Founder and Co-Chair of the Ugandan Women's Health Initiative. This new Alliance will be of great value in helping academics and clinicians in the UK to further work with their colleagues and the government in Ugandan. We had an exciting discussion about introducing cervical screening for women in the region, ways to improve nursing training and the introduction of ambulance services in Uganda."


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