By Watchdog reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has told a consultative and interactive meeting of a cross section of medical practitioners that if everybody is fully dedicated and committed to all tasks, the reality of Uganda attaining better and improved medical services delivery is for sure.
Museveni met medical practitioners at State House Entebbe comprising top officials from the Ministry of Health, District Medical Officers (DMOs), District Health Officers (DHOs), Heads of Regional Referral Hospitals, and autonomous Medical Consultants, among others, from all over the country. He told them Uganda has a fast growing economy and will be able to achieve a middle-income status by the year 2020.
The Ugandan president noted that the causes of the 80% of the sicknesses, which the country encounters, are preventable.
He said the conservative social tendencies, poor hygiene, lack of behavioural change and poor nutrition cause stunted growth because the medical personnel fail to sensitize the population on measures that should be taken to avoid diseases.
“It is the medical knowledge available that has shown that 80% of most sicknesses in communities that include diarrhea, lack of personal hygiene and water borne diseases are avoidable. Why can’t the Ministry of Health work out a plan for Ugandans to avoid these sicknesses so that the money spent on treatment is saved? Most of these diseases are caused by backwardness and conservativeness. These neglected preventive measures that can reduce costs on treatment are the ones that consume money that would otherwise be saved for salaries,” he observed.
The President blamed the Ministry of Health for failure to educate the population about their basic health care rights.
“The Ministry should act as a regulator on medical personnel management and good service delivery at every point. I don’t want to hear those stories about failure of people to access medical services in the country,” he warned.
Mr. Museveni reminded medical officials that when NRM came to power and launched the National Immunization Campaign countrywide to eliminate the six killer diseases, the maternal mortality rate came down. He stressed that using the media to disseminate information about the common diseases in communities, is a good strategy to curb further spread of sicknesses.
The President told the meeting that the Government has registered growth in the construction of the general infrastructure whereby its priorities have been in such sectors like roads, electricity, health, education and defence. He noted that the growth has been realized because of the current national economic growth that Uganda has attained under the NRM Government.
“I am ready to work with you if you stick to better medical service delivery. Next is salaries. Good salaries are coming. Scientists and doctors will be the first to be considered. And it will be a universal package not just something to eat,” he said.
The President of Uganda Medical Fraternity, Dr. Fred Biiso, called for close interaction between senior and junior medical staff to enhance attitude change in the process of medical service delivery.
The representative of Regional Referral Hospitals Dr. Nathan Onyach, who is from Gulu Hospital, thanked President Museveni for his continuous intervention to improve matters of health in referral hospitals in the country through provision of funds for immunization campaign and implementation of decentralization of the pay rolls. He reported that the measures have eliminated ghost workers in the medical sector.
The Ministers of State for Health (General), Sarah Opendi and that of State for Primary Health Care, Joyce Moriku and Ministry of Health Officials, attended the meeting.