The Uganda Society of Sports Medicine (USSM) held their inaugural stakeholders’ engagement meeting via Zoom on 17th June, 2020. The meeting aimed to update the sports and medical fraternities about the recently established association and its mission objectives. The audience consisted of several medical practitioners with affiliations to national sports federations/clubs/institutions, sports leaders and media, with a record of more than 30 participants.
The key speakers included:
1. Dr. Aya Nakitanda – President, USSM and Chairperson, National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) Uganda
2. Dr. Donald Rukare – Chairperson, National Council of Sports (NCS) and General Secretary, Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC)
3. Dr. Joseph Kalanzi – Medical Trainer, Uganda Rugby Union (URU)
4. PT Miriam Mirembe – Member, UOC Dr. Ronald Kisolo, Vice-president of USSM, the former Head physician of national Football team, and a serving member of the UOC Medical
Dr. Rukare focused on the role of NCS and UOC in Sports Medicine practice highlighting 5 major areas: Strengthening Policy, Capacity building, Promotion and Advocacy, Encouraging clubs/schools/national federations, and Fostering research and partnerships. The current National Development Plan included recruitment of 80 sports medicine practitioners into public service but had not yet been realized. He stressed that by forging collaborations with established scientific institutions such as medical schools and universities, the ball of research could be rolled in Ugandan sport and inform medical practice, anti-doping and athlete performance.
Dr Kalanzi gave an overview of the practice of sports medicine within the Uganda Rugby Union, a model sport federation with an active medical commission. He reported that the medical union consisted of health workers of all cadres, including medical students and volunteers. Their major areas of focus included injury prevention, provision of pitch-side care at local and international level, and rehabilitation of athletes into fitness.
PT Mirembe talked about the roles and skillset of sports physiotherapists vital to the health and performance of athletes. She mentioned the common challenges faced by Ugandan sports physiotherapists in performing their tasks and appealed for optimum working conditions. She shared various diploma and undergraduate physiotherapy training opportunities in Uganda, as well as post graduate training available through UOC.
Following the presentations, a Question and Answer session was conducted:
PT Norman sought clarification on the role of USSM in regulating medical practice in Uganda to which Dr Aya responded that USSM did not intend to act as a regulatory body but hoped to unify qualified medical practitioners in the sports fraternity. USSM would act as a reference to stakeholders who sought to employ qualified medical workers, as such, a practicing license was prerequisite for membership to USSM.