US spent 506.1 M dollars on improving health in Uganda

By Gloria Nakimba
A total of 8.76 million Ugandans were tested for HIV/AIDS in 2017, according to new report to the Ugandan People released by the US Embassy in Kampala on Thursday.
US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac says her government spent  506.1 million US dollars, about 1.8 trillion Uganda shillings in assistance to promote a healthy Uganda while the overall  assistance to the  Ugandan people  in the financial year 2017 totaled  to 971 Million US dollars  approximately  3.6 trilling shillings.
According to the report nearly 60% of Ugandans living with HIV achieved viral load suppression which has been shown to reduce onward transmission by 96%.
Ambassador Malac however noted that there are still challenges regarding resources for health workers asking government to invest more in the health sector to address this challenge.
This she says is a challenge not just in Uganda but in a number of countries where the resources are constrained, and health workers including nurses, midwives and physician are not paid enough to retain them to keep them as part of the system.
Center for Disease Control country director   Dr. Lisa Nelson noted that Uganda has registered great progress in HIV response getting towards the epidemic control as well as controlling malaria.
She explained that much of the support was towards the health sector to help the country deal with disease outbreaks “Uganda is in the Congo basin with a lot of emerging disease threats, and I think one of the things the US government and all agencies are involved in is also supporting Uganda to have the system to detect disease outbreaks and be prepared to respond so that they don’t spread and contain economic impact of those threats” Dr. Lisa Nelson told the media at the launch of the report at the American embassy in Nsambya. She hailed Uganda’s capability to diagnose infections as and when they break out.
“Some of your institutions such as Uganda virus research institute really are world class and are able to detect these disease and able to detect them in a timely fashion” she said.
Uganda is among 13 countries that were selected as one of the comprehensive countries to focus on epidemic control. Amy Cunningham Coordinator PEPFAR program told the media in Kampala that the country is two years away from epidemic control.
PEPFAR supported 993,070 of the 1,051,138 Ugandans receiving treatment for HIV last year. According to the report, more than 26 million Ugandans were kept safe from Malaria last year, thanks to the insecticide treated mosquito nets that were distributed under the US President’s Malaria initiative.
More than one million insecticide treated nets were distributed to families and 200,000 nets were handed out to pregnant women.
Malaria remains the leading cause of illness in the country resulting in 27 to 34 percent of outpatient hospital visits and 19 to 30 percent of hospital admissions country wide .On the issue of stability, the US government contributed 371.3 million dollars that is 1.3 trillion shillings to promote a stable Uganda.
According to Ambassador Malac  some this money went towards supporting the country’s response to an influx of refugees.
 1.3 million Refugees in Uganda received assistance through support from the Bureau of population refugees and migration at the US department of state
She hailed Uganda’s response towards refugees fleeing fighting back home especially those from South Sudan
“We continue to be very impressed with the government of Uganda and the Ugandan people’s willingness to accept refugees, it’s really a very extraordinary position” Ambassador Malac noted.

Anthony Thompson named new World bank country manager

By Gloria Nakiyimba
The World Bank has announced Antony Thompson as the new Country Manager for Uganda Mr. Thompson replaced Ms. Christina Malmberg Calvo whose contract expired on 31 July, and he will be overseeing 26 projects in Uganda  totaling to 3 billion US dollars.
“Under his leadership, the World Bank will continue supporting inclusive growth and poverty reduction through a wide array of financial products and technical assistance” read part of the statement issued by the World Bank.
Some the World bank programs in Uganda are targeting to raise rural incomes by increasing agricultural productivity and commercialization and reducing vulnerability to shocks.
This is achieved through investing in better service delivery, particularly in health and education; improving the business environment and access to infrastructure services.
Mr. Thompson served as  the country manager for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, since August 2014.
He joined the World Bank Group in 1992 as part of the Young Professional Program, working on human development for the Middle East and North Africa region’s country operations department.
He has worked in several different capacities, including operations officer, lead financial sector specialist, operations advisor, and sector manager. Throughout his career in the World Bank, he has worked extensively in financial sector, private sector development, and tax administration.
Thompson’s areas of expertise include health, HIV/AIDS prevention, and financial sector reforms.

WHO pledges to help Ministry of health fight cholera

By Daudi Zirimala

The World Health Organization (WHO), has pledged its support to ministry of health to encounter the outbreak of Cholera in country most especially in the refugee host communities.

According to WHO Country Representative Dr. Tomas Tegen, they are committed to counter epidemics and emergencies in Uganda by providing necessary support in terms of human resource, funds among others to reduce impact of emergencies including loss of lives.

Dr. Tegen says capacity building is required because influx of refugees in Uganda will consistently impact of lives of Uganda if epidemics are not catered for.

Government plans for mass cholera vaccination finalized

The ministry of health has finalized plans for the mass vaccination against Cholera in Hoima district.

The district is battling an outbreak of the acute diarrheal disease, amidst a humanitarian crisis that has led to an influx of more than 25,000 refugees fleeing civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The disease outbreak that started out in Sebigoro Landing site in Kabwoya and Kyangwali sub-counties has so far claimed 44 lives, and affected more than 2000 people, according to records by the Ministry of Health. Cholera is caused by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated by faeces.

Dr Immaculate Ampiire, the senior Medical officer Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization-UNEPI told Uganda Radio Network that following the outbreak, arrangements have been made to for the mass cholera vaccination exercise which will be carried out in two phases.

She says the first phase of the vaccination exercise will be launched on May 2 to May 6 at Buseruka sub-county Headquarters in Hoima district and the second phase will run from June 6, up to June 10.

She says the campaign is targeting persons above one year in the five Sub-counties of Kigorobya, Kabwoya, Kyangwali, Buseruka and Kigorobya town council, classified as hotspots in Hoima district.

Ampiire who was addressing the Hoima District Cholera Task Force team at the office of the Resident District Commissioner [RDC] Hoima, appealed to all stakeholders to mobilize members of the public to embrace the exercise.

Hoima Resident district commissioner [RDC] John Stephen Ekoom says the district is ready to receive the team from the health ministry to kick-start the vaccination campaign. He has however warned some religious cults in the district against preventing their followers from being vaccinated.

Ekoom says whoever will be found diverting people against the exercise will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly for sabotaging government programmes.

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Government to opt for mosquito repellent paint as a solution against malaria

By Deo Wasswa

The ministry of health needs not less than 2.5 billion Uganda shillings per district to roll out the exercise of indoor residual spray of insecticides to curb spread of Malaria among communities.

According to the minister state for general duties, Sarah Opendi, currently the exercise is in 14 districts out of the 121 districts in Uganda.

She however, urged the technical team at the ministry of health to identify some people within the private sector who can be able to provide the indoor residual spraying to those who can afford to pay. Opendi adds that the ministry is discussing with a Japanese paint Company to avail a mosquito repellent paint.

Uganda is among many of countries that joined the rest of the world to commemorate the malaria international day.

Mulago super specialized maternal and neo-natal ward to open soon

By Gloria Nakiyimba
Construction of the state of the art Super Specialized Maternal and Neo-natal facility at Mulago National Referral hospital is complete.
In an exclusive interview, Enock Kusasira Mulago hospital publicist told Capital radio that civil works at the magnificent facility in Kampala are done.
“We are now installing equipment and installing an integrated hospital management system.  Every other thing has been done. We are only finalizing with the retaining wall just behind the hospital” said Kusasira.
The new facility will for the first time offer In-vitro Fertilization-IVF services to patients with fertility problems.
“All our staff especially those who will be working in that hospital are receiving refresher training, others went for specialized training in areas of IVF “he revealed.
Kusasira says once opened the 450 bed hospital will become the first public facility to offer IVF services in Uganda.
The state of the art Women specialized hospital will be opened in July this year.
Construction of the hospital has cost 33.3 million US Dollars which government borrowed from the    Islamic Development Bank-IDB.    The hospital was constructed by the Arab contractors company from Egypt.
No Oxygen shortage
Kusasira noted that the two oxygen plants at the hospital are producing enough oxygen to   cater for patients especially babies.
There were reports of shortage of oxygen which was linked to death of many babies at Kawempe hospital.  But  Mr.   Kusasira noted that the reports were false.
“Mulago hospital has enough oxygen and we distribute it to all our campuses; Kawempe and Kiruddu on regular basis.”
The hospital has two oxygen plants. The old one  was installed in November 2012 and a new one that was installed early this year
“Both of them are working at full capacity and there is no hitch in as far as the supply of oxygen is concerned” he insisted.
Kusasira also dismissed claims that the hospital is grappling with a shortage of blood.
“ I have no knowledge of blood  shortages, we suffered a lot when students were on holiday,  but for the last two months there has  not been any report of shortage of blood “  he said.
He added that all the theatres at Mulago hospital are working, and all the patients that need transfusion are being transfused and there is no cause for alarm.

Uganda’s community of the deaf “We have been ignored by government.”

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda’s community of the deaf have raised concern following the lack of access to health information including HIV/AIDS. This after a survey revealed that HIV prevalence among them stood at 1.9% and is rising. They have also lashed at the ministry of health demanding for health awareness information in sign language across all health centers and communication media.

The Persons with hearing impairments accuse the ministry of neglecting them in regard to awareness on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.Their remarks following a survey that indicates that only 58.3% have ever known about the viral infections and majority die without ever knowing they were infected.

According to the Ministry Of Health, Commissioner in charge of Disease Control, Dr. Patrick Tusiime , he agrees that government has concentrated on treatment and focused less on prevention of HIV. There  are over 1million deaf people in Uganda and 1% are living with HIV. The Crane survey 2017 was conducted among groups at increased risk for HIV in Kampala.

Cancer institute asks for more government funding

By Robert Segawa
As Uganda cancer institute (UCI) cerebrates 50 years in service, government has been urged to construct regional cancer centers that will help to eliminate cancer in the country.
Executive director UCI Dr Jackson Orem while addressing journalists at Mulago Referral hospital , said that cancer has continued to be a problem because people have no nearby places to seek primary treatment.
Orem adds that cancer must be given first priority when giving funding which will help send services to the communities .
So far forty thousand people report for cancer treatment annually and cervical cancer is mostly common in women then prostate cancer for men .
He calls upon Ugandans to visit hospitals for cancer checkups.

Healthycare organizations worry about growing HIV resistance to drugs

By Wasswa Deo

Healthcare organizations  that are supporting people living with HIV/AIDS which includes People in Need Agency Uganda (PINA-U) and Aids Healthcare foundation,   have urged the Ministry of Health to come out and clarify the government’s plans to initiate third line treatment for patients who have failed  second line treatment.

Moses Nsubuga, the executive director   People in need agency Uganda (PINA-U) says, the exclusive sources shows that the ministry has already setup a technical working committee to work on initiating the third line intervention, but if it’s true, the  ministry should engage them in fighting the cause.

The two years study code named, Managing Using Latest Technologies to Save People Who Have Failed Second Line at Joint clinical research center, has over 270 Ugandans that have failed second line treatment

The organizations also want the government to come up with more innovative ways of ensuring people living with HIV/AIDS adhere to in taking their drugs. They say many of people living with HIV especially children have become drug resistant because they have poor adherence in taking their drugs.

Moroto hospital staff ignore patients, OPD opens half day

Patients, who don’t make it to Moroto Regional Referral Hospital by midday, return home without treatment because the Outpatient department operates half day, URN reports.

Our reporter spent two days at the Hospital and observed that majority of the medics start work past 9:00am and leave by 2:00pm depending on the number of patients available.

Patients start lining up for treatment as soon as the OPD is opened at 7:00am. Patients who come past midday are bounced or ignored by staff.

Maria Ngorok trekked over 50 kilometers from Lotome in Napak district to Moroto Regional Referral Hospital with her husband and arrived at the hospital at 3:00pm on Tuesday.

However, they found the OPD closed leaving them with nowhere to turn for treatment.  Ngorok noted that the journey to the hospital took them long since her husband was very ill, but they were disappointed to find the facility closed.

Phillip Longole, a patient from Iriiri Sub County in Napak district, approximately 100 kilometers away from Moroto, arrived at the Hospital just a few minutes past 4:00pm.

Longole, who traveled to the hospital by bus on Tuesday, lay helpless as there was no body to attend to him. He told URN with difficulty how he was desperate for the treatment.

By 6:00pm on Tuesday when URN left the hospital more than five patients including casualties lay unattended to at the casualty unit, the only unit left open in the OPD.

Other patients sought to join the wards that appear to have staff working throughout but those with limited knowledge on how the hospital works end up going back home or resort to clinics if they can afford.

Dr. Alfred Francis Ogwang, the Director Moroto Regional Referral Hospital acknowledges the challenge but attributes it to low staffing. He said the few staff at the OPD work for only one shift while emergency cases are rushed to the wards.

But Christine Alupo, a patient found in one of the clinics says the medics employed by the hospital spend most of their time in their businesses especially running private clinics.

Moroto Regional Referral Hospital serves the seven districts of Karamoja and neighboring communities from Teso and Kenya among others.

 

 

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