Clergy applauded for promoting family planning

By Alice Lubwama

The chairperson of the health committee of parliament DR Michael Bukenya assures religious leaders that the health budget will not be reduced from the 2.6 trillion shillings that was allocated last year.

The religious leaders led by the deputy Mufti Uganda Muslim supreme council Sheikh Ali Waiswa are concerned about the declining investment in the health sector which would definitely affect Family planning budget (from 7.9%-5%) •

They are also concerned with the low absorption of funds by the ministry of health due to late release and want the funds allocated for different programs to be accounted for.

Bukenya says that although the call circular that was earlier sent to parliament by the ministry of finance had indicated a decline in the health budget, but parliament has recommended for even more funds for the sector.

The health budget was allocated 2.6 trillion in financial year 2019-2020.

Bukenya notes that parliament has also proposed an allocation of extra 15 billion shillings for Maama kits on top of the 16 billion shillings allocated for reproductive health supplies.

He has commended the religious leaders for the job well done in advocating for family planning financing so that Ugandans can have manageable families.

The inter faith dialogue was convened by an organization faith for family health initiative with the aim of bringing together religious leaders and decision makers to discuss how they can work together to improve the health of Ugandans with more emphasis on family planning.

Nakaseke worries about out break of strange disease

By Alice Lubwama
The ministry of health has asked the communities from Nakaseke district to remain calm as a team has been sent on the ground to assess the situation following reports of an outbreak of a strange disease.

This was after Nakaseke woman MP Sarah Najuma reported a case of a farmer from Wakyato in Nakaseke district had been attacked by strange disease with symptoms of diarrhea , fever nausea and appetite loss.

The state minister for health Sarah Opendi informed parliament on Thursday that the patient has been isolated in kiwoko hospital and samples have been picked from her and taken to the Uganda virus research institute for further investigations.

Opendi however say that although they are still waiting for the results but Nakaseke being in the cattle corridor is at risk of getting Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

Survey findings show that 70% Village health teams are not trained

Only 30 percent of  Village Health Teams-VHTs members are trained to manage patients in communities.

This is according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health aimed at understanding how effective VHTs are at managing their communities. Uganda has 180,000 VHTs members but only 60,000 of these have acquired training.

Uganda adopted the VHT strategy in 2001 as a bridge in health service delivery between community and health facilities. But according to the survey, only a few were trained to effectively monitor and manage patients.

Their work includes community mobilisation for public health campaigns such as immunisation and family planning, nutrition and home visits.

Prof. Anthony Mbonye, the Director General Health Services, notes that the training gap has been caused by lack of funding. He notes that the development partners have trained some of the VHTs in districts where they operate.

Jova Kamateeka, the Woman Member of Parliament for Mitooma district, says it is unfortunate that VHT members are untrained. She notes that the government should borrow
money to train them.

Dr. Joachim Osur, the Amref Health Africa Director, says that governments have been reluctant to invest in VHTs. He notes that governments are trying several policies without really funding them.

But according to Prof. Mbonye, the health ministry has drafted a new policy that is aimed at reducing the number of VHTs and emphasising their training.



Ministry of health to invest over 500Bn Ugx in implementation of HIV/AIDS test and treat

By Charles Kizindo Lule
Ministry of health is investing 140 millionUS D   in the implementation of the adopted new HIV/AIDS test and treat guidelines launched today.
The AIDS program manager ministry of health Dr Joshua Musinguzi says the 2015 World Health Organization guidelines, anyone who tests HIV/AIDS positive will   immediately  be put Antiretroviral drugs regardless of their CD4 cell count.

Ministry of Health out of bounds for staff and public till investigations conclude

The Ministry of Health headquarters in Kampala have been declared out of bounds for staff and other citizens following a fire outbreak this afternoon.

All entrances to the ministry are currently manned by police anti-terrorism officers with no one allowed access. Several people who were attempting to pick cars from the parking yard were also blocked.

Joyce Moriku, the State minister for Primary Health Care who rushed at the offices following the incident told Journalists that the fire outbreak was unfortunate but it was contained within time.   She added that the staff will not be allowed to access the building until investigations are complete.

Vivian Nakalika Sserwanja, the ministry’s spokesperson that the fire affected the quality assurance office, part of the reproductive health office and the child health division.

Nakaliika told URN that a number of ministry officers were in the building at the time the fire started explaining that they were in preparations to travel to Omoro district for the launch of the preventative meningitis vaccination campaign.

ASP Okobo Godfrey, the Acting Commissioner for Fire Prevention at Fire and Rescue Services told URN that they had managed to put out the fire but have not yet established its cause.

He however noted the presence of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers and scene of crime officers who have started investigations.

Okobo further said that they suspect that the fire started in a pantry on the third floor of the building.

Okobo also noted a challenge of access to affected offices citing use of access control – biometric system where they could not easily access since they are not staff but broke into the premises.

He also noted that the ministry’s water hydrant had no water and could not help them.