By Joyce Namutebi and Viola Nabatanzi
THE Ministry of Health has announced measures it will pursue to ensure that Ugandans live longer healthier lives. They include “seven tips to better health at community level.”
The measures announced by the minister, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye are also meant to ensure that the goal of the health sector, which is attainment of a good standard of health by all people in Uganda, is achieved.
He said the life expectancy of Ugandans is about 55 years, but it should be pushed up to 80 like it is in Cuba, Japan and other countries. “We must allow Ugandans to live as long as possible,” he said.
He was opening the 10th National Health Assembly at Speke resort, Munyonyo on Monday, whose theme was “Embracing Universal Health Coverage to improve Health.”
The seven tips to strengthen community health service delivery include telling people to eat healthy food and exercise regularly, immunise children and others at risk and observe proper personal hygiene and sanitation.
Others include fighting malaria, TB and other common infections, telling them to avoid drug and alcohol abuse, practice responsible sexual behaviour as well as to attend regular medical check-ups.
In addition to the Village Health Teams, Tumwesigye said they would have in place a cadre of Community Health Extension Workers who are well trained and located at parish level and given targets to achieve and indicators to monitor and paid according to their performance.
“These should be able to do home to home outreaches and can be involved in screening for minor illness, health education, child monitoring. Antenatal care and ensure skilled delivery,” he said.
The meeting at Speke Resort, Munyonyo attracted stakeholders from the health sector development partners, and district officials, among others. Besides reviewing and discussing the health sector performance and the HSSIP, it was also meant to gather support for mobilization of resources for health interventions at local government level.
The minister said emphasis would also be put on strengthen health service delivery at HC 3. “We still have 225 Sub counties without HC3 and 98 Sub counties with no Health facility at all. Within the next 5 years we would like to ensure that progressively every sub county will have a HC3, with a maternity unit with accommodation for the midwives. Mothers cannot continue to die while we sit and watch,” Tumwesigye said.
He revealed that they would start the National Health Insurance and operationalize the HIV AIDS trust fund and other funds which will be consolidated into one fund for health.
Unveiling the Health Sector Development Plan for the next five years, Acting Director Health Services (Planning and Development), Dr. Henry Mwebesa said the goal is to accelerate movement towards universal health coverage with essential health and related services needed for promotion of a healthy and productive life.
“Universal health coverage makes it possible to ensure that all people receive essential and good quality health services without suffering financial hardship,” he said.