With Uganda’s population estimated to be at 35 million people in 2015, of which more than 16 million cases of malaria are reported according to statistics in 2013, and a big number of the population are knowingly and unknowingly suffering from health conditions such as; HIV/Aids, hypertension, diabetes, cancers, tuberculosis, among thousands of other health conditions, what does the government and its people do to manage Uganda’s disease burden visa vis the availability of services and opportunities, to have Ugandans get affordable or even free checkups, treatment and care, while all people affected are able to access and afford the treatment and health reviews, at little or no cost?
According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda’s population is estimated to be at an average annual growth rate of 3.03 per cent, does anyone know what to do, when it is this overwhelming?
I say let’s partner, link problems and strategies and let us all speak one voice to support Ugandans, especially those living below the poverty line who are the majority. Considering working closely with like minded people, institutions and structures whose agenda is to promote social-economic equity of all people in Uganda is ideal for our county. As the saying goes: ‘no man is an island’ the thought that government and a handful of individuals, who have something in their wallet, will solve the problems in society solely is simply not working, but rather joining other partners come on board by getting involved in their initiatives for this matter, at any structure or level in society and this may actually do something about the situation.
For two years now, Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (CEUHRD) has been holding a health camp in Buikwe District where thousands get tested and immediate treatment for different illnesses and I should say this year’s camp, which attracted more 10,000 people from Eastern Uganda, was evident enough that Ugandans indeed are suffering from illnesses that need immediate and instant attention to manage their health, considering 98 per cent of the people who received services on this day where Ugandans who can hardly afford a dollar a day to survive, therefore there was no way they could have accessed these services from private healthcare centres as the population in the public health facilities is a story for another day.
For organisations such as CEHURD and other development partners’ that come up with initiatives to extend services to people who can either hardly access them or afford similar services, support and back up is the plan they are looking for, so that these initiatives spread further and get the boost they need to benefit the last Ugandan deep in the remote areas.
It was obvious that working closely with Buikwe District, Kawolo hospital and other government structures to ensure these services reach the people in the remote areas of Buikwe, not only made the health camp and campaign a success but equally shouldered a great burden that is usually faced by these institutes as a result of the big numbers that overwhelm health workers in public health facilities on a daily.
Well if you ask me, I say promoting these initiatives, working in partnership and morale boosting such programmes with all the support they need, is the plan that works, because then, all the unreached areas and people who miss out on opportunities of free health care, where services may not have been able to go are catered for. This equally rids off the burden, government and development partners, and a few individuals who give back may have to shoulder.
Ms Katasi is a health advocate. email@example.com