By Mourice Muhoozi
Uganda is one of the most populated countries on the continental Africa, with 41.49 million people in 2017, according to the report made by the United Nations Department of economic and social affairs. Though this is a great achievement by the state, the matter of question and concern is whether these people assume decent health care services.
The health care in the country is extremely alarming, most especially the public health sector, with many hospitals and other health centres in a sorry state. For example, a recent report by the state house monitoring unit revealed that there is a dysfunctional and broken down health care system in Wakiso.
In a nutshell, the question of the day is, how can these loopholes in the health sector be fixed to put an end to the rampant death rates in the country?, that is to say; as per the CIA world factbook, the infant mortality rate in Uganda is at 57.6 out of 1000 live births.
There should be adequate funding to the health sector such that all health expenses are effectively met, to ensure proper provision of health services to the people. These expenses include buying of medical equipment, timely payment of health workers such that they are motivated to do their work.
On contrary, the government of Uganda has not ensured adequate funding of the health sector. It has increasingly apportioned less than 15% of its funds to the health sector, against is obligations under the 2001 Abuja declaration, in which African leaders pledged to spend 15% of their national budgets on health care. This has greatly halted improvements in the health sector.
Besides, there should be timely renovation of health centres to ensure that they are in good conditions.
The worn out equipment should be replaced with new ones. Dilapidated structures should be demolished or renovated and new ones built to ensure good sanitary conditions at various health centres.
This was the case with Abim hospital in North Eastern Uganda, most especially after Dr. Kizza Besigye’s visit to the health facility in 2015. After exposing the bad sanitary conditions, Abim hospital went under thorough rehabilitation.
Needless to mention, proper inspection and supervision of health workers should be enforced by the health ministry. This can help to curb down cases of absenteeism and laziness among health workers.
For example President Yoweri Museveni’s sacking of 14 medics at Nakawuka health centre 111 in Wakiso in August 2016 was due to their neglect of duty, majorly due to their inadequate supervision by the health ministry.
Training more medics should be effected to ensure enough supply of health workers in various health centres. This can ensure timely provision of health services to the populace.
In the final analysis, human lives should be highly valued and therefore given maximum attention by the government than anything else to ensure decent living of the population.
The writer is a second year student of Journalism and communication at Makerere University.