Dr. Edward Kigonya
Whatever meager resources Uganda has, our priorities are skewed towards some few “essential” institutions.
Human resource is the most important source of production, therefore we must be healthy to be productive.
A healthy and happy population is productive. It is wrong to put finance and infrastructure before human beings!
During a BBC discussion on November 3, 2011, Dr Maroh reported that approximately 800,000 deaths occur annually due to malaria. That 90% of these occur in Sub Saharan Africa and that 90% of these occur in children below five years. That such deaths cost the countries where they occur 1.3% of their GDPs!
The Ministry of Health should, without putting aside the already heavy burden of diseased people, lay more emphasis on promotion of good health and prevention of diseases.
This is likely to reduce the current burden of diseases by as much as 50%. We should strengthen our primary healthcare system.This will entail:-
Increasing the ratio of primary health care workers to specialists
Cutting down on the cost of administration
Increasing health services to the rural areas, where social services are scarce and where 90% of our people reside
The six basic health requisites that need immediate attention:-
Good nutrition for all but more particularly the under five children. 32% of our children below the age of five years are stunted!
Maternity services should be religiously supervised by primary health care workers
High immunisation coverage of at least 95% of the under fives as stipulated by the World Health Organisation; our current 80% is unacceptably too low!
Good hygiene/sanitation. Some of the urban slums e.g, Kanyogoga (the area between Namuwongo and Bugolobi) are worse off than lots of Uganda’s villages!
Immediately put in place the long awaited health insurance scheme that will not only assist the insured but will help us to cover some cost for the basic health needs. It requires a few untainted people to manage it. Kenya and Rwanda, have successfully established it.
The writer is a retired senior consultant physician