Key players in the health and social sector have called upon Government through the Ministry of Health to increase the funding allocated to Primary Health Care (PHC) to enable health care access for all members of the public.
In a Civil Society Organization (CSOs) dialogue on promoting community participation to improve Uganda’s health care systems held in Kampala, participants pointed out among others, that community participation is a key pillar in improving the health system.
Dr. Jonathan Wangisi, the District Health Officer (DHO) Mbale noted that in the current situation, Village Health Teams (VHTs) and peer educators play a big role in reaching out to all members of the community but their work is stifled by insufficient facilitation from the line health departments.
“Mbale has more than 4000 villages with each having two or three VHTs, however, there is no funding for their activities in terms of facilitation, supervision and motivation,” Wangisi said.
Adding: “Our coverage as far as the health sector is concerned is about 80% of the population with people staying in a radius of 5Km range. We have sub counties and other administrative units which don’t have even a single Government health facility.”
Wangisi also pointed out that some of the available facilities have no maternity wards which complicates the duty of health officers.
Dr. David Musoke from the Department of Disease Control in the School of Public Health College of Makerere University noted that according to their recent surveys, Special Interest Groups and hard to reach areas like islands have been neglected under the PHC program especially in Wakiso district.
“In such health programs, children and youth should be given a priority because once they have learnt anything, they can share with their parents or guardians thereby creating a brighter future for the country,” Musoke said.
He also noted that better health services cannot be achieved by a single key player but through partnership, team work and stake holder engagement.
Patrick Mwesigye, the team leader for Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum(UYAHF) also PHC champion noted that there is need for capacity building among community members on the prevention of communicable diseases.
“PHC is a health initiative that can be ideally managed by communities if well managed and sensitized,” Mwesigye said.
The dialogue attracted participants from Ministry of Health and CSOs like AMREF, PATH, UYAHF, Living Goods, Public Health Ambassadors, UNICEF among others.