Father remanded over child neglect

By Sania Babirye

City hall court has remanded a father of four children over child neglect.

The suspect is identified as 46 year year old Tushabe Richard .

He appeared before grade one magistrate Valerian Tuhimbise who charged him with child neglect for allegedly refusing and also charged with domestic abuse.

He however pleaded not guilty to the said two counts and was remanded until tomorrow the 11th of June when hearing of his case is expected to begin.

Prosecution states that since July 2015 at Kisenyi Kamwokya being a biological father of 4 children aged between 7 and 10 years, the suspect neglected to provide sufficient food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care thereby injuring their health.

Prosecution adds that in the same period at Kisenyi Kamwokya, Tushabe unlawfully engaged himself in the act of violence against his wife Jackline Nyirakarasha Tushabe.

Civil society petitions Kadaga over low budgets for palliative care

By Deo Wasswa

Eight leading civil society organizations working on Palliative Care, Health Rights and Budget Advocacy petitioned the Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Uganda on the low budgetary allocation for palliative care services in Uganda.

The organizations led by the Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) presented a joint statement at the Chambers of the Deputy Speaker.

While presenting the petition, Rose Kiwanuka the Country Director of PCAU who led the delegation said that Palliative Care is recognized as an essential service by the government of Uganda. She added that Palliative care is a component of the definition of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which has a central place in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Ms Kiwanuka noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) had defined Palliative as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and thorough assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. She noted that this unique service provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms among patients but also affirms life and regards dying as a normal process.

On who needs palliative care, Ms. Kiwanuka mentioned that the World Health Organization had identified the diseases that require palliative care for adults and children to include; cancer, cardiovascular/heart, HIV/AIDS and liver, and kidney diseases, among others. The majority of adults in need of palliative care have chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (38.5%), cancer (34%), chronic respiratory diseases (10.3%), AIDS (5.7%) and diabetes (4.6%).

Ms. Kiwanuka pointed out that the provision of palliative care in Uganda began in with the establishment of Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU) in 1993 and that Uganda was viewed by the world as one of the countries with the best models of palliative care provision in Africa. Ms Kiwanuka thanked the government of Uganda for integrating Palliative Care in Uganda’s Health Sector Strategic Plans since 2004. She also thanked the Ministry of Health for establishing a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Hospice Africa for the production of oral liquid morphine which is available for patients in need free of charge. Uganda was the first country in the world to allow specially trained nurses to prescribe morphine for pain control.

On access to Palliative Care Services, Ms. Kiwanuka noted that currently, only 11% of those who need pain control and palliative care access it in Uganda. She said that the country’s Health Sector Development Plan 2015/16 – 2019/20, showed that palliative care services were being offered in only 4.8% of the public hospitals in the country. She added that the 2017 Annual Report of the Uganda Human Rights Commission pointed out various gaps in the provision of palliative care services which included the following:

Uganda lacked a standalone palliative care policy to guide the implementation of palliative care services.

The public health structure emphasizes institutionalized care as opposed to home care which is the most suitable model for palliative care provision in countries like Uganda.

There was inadequate training of palliative care providers which was coupled with the fact that the public civil service structure did not recognize the few qualified health workers in the field of palliative care.

One of the petitioners Dr. Emmanuel Luyirika the Executive Director of The Palliative Care Association (APCA) informed the Deputy Speaker that whereas Uganda was the first country to start Palliative Care in Eastern Africa, the neighboring countries are making great strides. He mentioned that Rwanda and Tanzania passed their National Palliative Care Policies. He reminded the speaker that Uganda is a party to key international legal frameworks which called for superior investment in Palliative Care. He mentioned the frameworks to include:

The 2014 World Health Assembly Resolution on strengthening palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course.

The 2017 World Health Assembly Resolution on cancer which commits Governments to provide pain relief and palliative care to their citizens.

The African Union (AU) Common Position on Controlled Substances and Access to Pain Medications which speaks to the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances to provide relief from pain and suffering associated with serious chronic illnesses.

One of the petitioners from the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) Ms. Allana Kembabazi noted that Palliative care had not realized direct funding or vote in Uganda’s national budget. She said that in the Budget Framework Paper for the 2019/20 financial year, there were significant budget cuts that touch the provision of palliative care. She pointed out that the proposed Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) budget for the FY 2019/20 was projected to decrease by UGX 30.561 billion (33.513%) from UGX91.192 billion in FY 2018/19 to UGX 60.631 billion. Ms. Allan implored the government to increase investment in health care which is a fundamental right to citizens.

At the same meeting Ms. Fatia Kiyange from the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) stated that in order to improve palliative care service provision in Uganda the civil society organizations recommend that:

Government fast tracks the development, approval and ensures funding for the implementation of the National Palliative Care Policy.

Government initiates steps to progressively realize direct funding for palliative care services in Uganda. There should be a vote for palliative care in the future national budgets of Uganda.

Government considers investing in human resources for palliative care by training palliative care providers at all levels.

The Health Service Commission and other relevant bodies should recognize palliative care as a medical, nursing and allied health workers specialty and therefore recruit and retain palliative care specialists in service at least up to Health Centre IV level.

While considering passing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Government should ensure that the scheme covers all conditions that require palliative care.

Government considers deliberate funding to Private Not for Profit t Standalone Hospices to strengthen home and community care among palliative care patients and their families.

On his part, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament thanked members of the civil society for their thoughtfulness about such a pertinent issue; Palliative Care. He noted that he was glad that a team of committed palliative care practitioners chosen to bring this to the issue to parliament for attention. He said that parliament is committed to discussing such real-life issues which touch the core of humanity. He informed the members present that the role of allocating resources in the national budget rested with the President and that Parliament discusses the proposals made. He advised the Palliative Care Fraternity to prepare to engage with the process of budgeting for the next financial year. He pledged that his office would be fully supportive of the processes to ensure that Palliative Care services are funded by the government.

New HPV vaccine to save women from cervical cancer

By Moses Kidandi
In a bid to reduce the number of women who succumb to cervical cancer in the country, the ministry of health has appealed to the Uganda cancer institute to make available vaccination of adults against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in the country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the East African region carries the highest burden of cervical cancer globally and Uganda is among the five countries with the highest rates in Africa.

Now the state minister of Health for General Duties Sarah Opendi says much as government introduced free vaccination of girls aged 10 years against HPV in the country, it is being constrained by limited funds to also cater for the vaccination of female adults.

She however says once the Uganda cancer institute makes available this vaccination, it can be easily accessed by women at a fairer price.

Parliament should bring back bleeding disorder bill

By Daudi Zirimala

The Minister of Health in Charge of General Duties Joyce Moriku Kaducu has called upon members of parliament to bring back the bill on bleeding disorders for debate to enable the ministry to plan thoroughly on bleeding disorders.

Speaking during the World Hemophilia day in Kampala, Dr Kaducu said that the bill was differed for further consultation when it was brought in parliament but it’s high time for parliament to debate again passes this bill to cater for hemophilia conditions.

She said that hemophilia foundation of Uganda is working hand in hand with the ministry of health to create a dedicated heamohopilia center in Mulago and regional referral hospitals and equip the centers with factors and reagents for testing heamophilia.

Heamophilia is an inherited genetic disorder that impairs the bodys ability to control blood clotting when blood vessel is broken and people with heamopholia do not bleed any faster than normal,they bleed for a much longer time.Over 2583 people are estimated to have heamophilia in Uganda and only 3.2% of the 2583 are diagnosed,96.8% remain misdiagnosed.

Hospitals registering many cases of anemia among pregnant mothers

By Moses Kidandi
The Government is registering a high increase in a number of anemia cases mainly in children and expectant mothers.

This has been attributed to poor feeding habits and several unknown reasons which are now being investigated by the Ministry of Health.

Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng who has expressed concern over the growing concerns was speaking at the launch of the Nutrition Society of Uganda at Makerere University school of food science.

The minister has how ever said Government has developed new strategies to address the challenges. She is now encouraging parents to start feeding them selves and their children with foods rich in iron.

Anemia in pregnant women has been attributed to their laxity in taking the recommended care and iron tablets as they under go antenatal care from health centers.

The senior economist in the office of the Prime Minister Galiwango Samuel while presenting a paper on key government strategies at the launch noted that the cases registered are worrying and recommended that mothers feed their children on fiber foods like Sweet potatoes, vegetables and beans from the routine served meals of posho, rice and other jack foods.

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.



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.