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More condoms than medicine in Mokongoro Health Centre

By Titus Kakembo

Added 15th October 2018 02:46 PM

“Worse still our service delivery is at the mercy of the weather since some of it is done under a tree shade. The facility is threatened by land grabbers because it has no land title”

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“Worse still our service delivery is at the mercy of the weather since some of it is done under a tree shade. The facility is threatened by land grabbers because it has no land title”

PIC: Patients wait for medical attention, the health centre  is said to be overwhelmed by the volume of patients.  Photos by Titus Kakembo

HEALTH

Mukongoro Health centre III serves: Palisa, Bukedea and Ngora. According to Senior Health Officer, Hellen Alupo the common ailments comprise: malnutrition, malaria, measles and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI.)

Unfortunately it remains financially challenged besides suffering a shortage of space and staff to deliver services effectively.

“To make matters worse supplies are determined elsewhere. This is why we get more condoms than medicines needed. This has been the case since the primary health fund dropped from sh2.7m to sh1.5m. With only three clinical officers and eight nurses, the facility is overwhelmed by the volume of patients,”   Alupo said.

“Worse still our service delivery is at the mercy of the weather since some of it is done under a tree shade.  The facility is threatened by land grabbers because it has no land title”

However, not all is gloom and doom as vigilant youths and citizen journalists consistently demand for better service delivery from local government. Gel Odok, the district movement inspiration programme coordinator says given sensitisation most of the youth now know their rights and team up to have them realised. 

“Since they comprise 75 percent of the national population, if not economically empowered, they pose a risk to the country economically, socially and politically,” observes Odok. “So they join hands with local leaders and fight corruption, poor service delivery and any malpractice seen.”

In response to their concerted complaints, a pit latrine has been dug, six beds have been procured and local leaders are often questioned for their budget accountability. 

An elder Opedun Ekomolot, 75 says although things are better since citizen journalists came into operation, thanks to  AAU efforts in 2004, there are still gaping loop holes in the chain of service delivery.

 A medical worker attends to a baby at Mokongoro Health Centre III

“For example we question them about why the health centre gets more condoms than drugs for malaria or common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),”  Ekolomot said. “We are asking government to elevate the Mukongoro unit to a Health Centre IV to get more medicine and staff.”

To make matters worse when medicines are delivered they do not come in time to contain the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, measles, hepatitis and Urinal Tract Infections (UTIs.)

One activist Claver Oseko notes that currently, the facility is burdened to deliver services to 53, 000 people in Bukedea, Ngora and Palisa.

“Because by law the unit is not allowed to attend to women who have had more than three children, they are forced to trek 12 km to Atutur Referral Hospital,”  Oseko said.

Poverty is rampant among the patients who seek treatment in the facility. They can hardly afford transport costs, by motor bike or special hire, to go to the nearest hospital for delivery. Family sizes are still a traditional status symbol among residents of the area.

Polygamy is the way families get labour on their gardens after cattle rustling in the mid 1980s crippled animal traction with which land was opened for farming. Climate change has made food security a bigger problem as malnutrition and other related disease make the facility more desirable.

The Citizen Journalists are asking government to upgrade the facility to the status of Health Centre IV. This will enable women with more than three children to get services.

“A pit to dispose waste has been dug, some mattresses are in place but the health centre has no electricity. Upgrading our health centre is the only way to salvage people from dying of curable diseases in this century,” Ekomolot said.

 

 

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