NRM using preventive interventions as key to better health

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

In the recent year, the National Resistance Movement government has refocused its plans/budgets to preventive interventions, especially community mobilisation and empowerment, immunisation, sanitation/hygiene, malaria prevention and control, HIV/Aids, preventing non-communicable diseases and nutrition.

 

Health messages for behavioural change have also been redesigned to communicate in a manner that gives adequate time for the population to understand that the Government is working closely with other key sectors, local governments and partners to provide relevant information that emphasises health promotion and disease prevention

 

The Government through the health ministry has put in place Community health extension workers per parish to monitor and promote community health activities. This policy and strategy has led to the reduction of maternal mortality ratios for the 2011-2016 period from 438/100,000 live birth to 336/100,000 live births.

 

Deliveries in hospitals have also increased from 42% in 2011 to 73% in 2016. Because of more mothers giving birth in hospitals, the infant mortality rate has also reduced from 54/1,000 in 2011 to 43/1,000. There are high hopes of reducing this figure further.

 

The Government has also instituted control measure to avoid drug prelifirage in the supply chain and health facilities. Relevant control tools for management of stock at all levels have been developed and we have increased supervision, inspection and auditing of medicine together with the Health Monitoring Unit and Local Governments in order to curtail theft of drugs.

 

Disciplinary action, including speedy prosecution of those found stealing medicines is being implemented in close collaboration with the health monitoring unit. Due to all these measures, service delivery has increased.

 

More so, a number of polio and meningitis campaigns were carried out in border districts. Vaccination of school girls against HPV was rolled out and is still ongoing.

 

Currently, there is an ongoing distribution of 24 million insecticide treated mosquito nets. Once completed, the net coverage will be at 100%. Malaria prevalence has reduced to less than 19% in the countryside and in Kampala to as low as 1%.

 

Transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their new born babies fell to less than 3,000 babies.

 

Furthermore, over 100 gene expert machines were procured and distributed to health facilities across the country to strengthen diagnosis and treatment of TB.

 

Staffing levels in the Government health facilities improved to 71% over the last one year and the Government continues to work with local governments and HSC to fill a number of vacant posts. The Government and other sector players are working closely together to enforce disciplinary action on absconding staff, introduction of attendance registers both manual and digital, regular spot checks and inspection, and enforcing duty rosters and work schedules for all staff. Government has also asked Health partners to desist from dual employment of public officers.

 

The Ministry of Health continues to allocate funds in order to prioritise, recruit and promote certain critical cadres of staff who have been difficult to recruit such as doctors, midwives, anaesthetists, ophthalmic officers and public health nurses.

 

Working with LGs, the MOH continues to provide non-monetary incentives to motivate health workers, especially accommodation; rewards and recognition for good performance; and preferential scholarships for upcountry staff.

 

The health sector is making steady progress to achieve most of the planned targets in the NRM manifesto. The recently conducted National Housing Survey (2015) and Uganda Demographic Health Survey (2016) both show significant improvements in key health indicators.

 

As we move towards improving the health sector in terms of infrastructure and services, we call upon the public to report any misbehavior by health workers such as absenteeism and theft of drugs.

 

If, for instance you go to a private clinic and find medicine which is marked “not for sale”, kindly alert the nearest police and other authorities.

 

 

Rose Namayanja-Nsereko

National Treasurer - NRM