By our reporter
KUMI, Uganda, Mukongoro residents are concerned of the declining health service delivery but instead being supplied with condoms.
According to Senior Health Officer Ms, Hellen Alupo, the common sicknesses comprise malnutrition, malaria, measles and urinary tract infections but unfortunately it remains financially challenged besides suffering a shortage of space and staff to deliver services effectively.
“This has been the case since the Primary Health Fund dropped from Sh2.7 to Sh1.5m. With only 3 clinical officers and eight nurses, the facility overwhelmed by the volume of patients,” revealed Alupo October 9, 2018. “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 program coordinator says given sensitization most of the youth now know their rights and team up to have them realized.
“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 link up 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 Action Aid efforts in 2004, there are still gaping loop holes in the chain of service delivery.
“For example we question them about why the health center gets more condoms than drugs for malaria or common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),” said Ekolomot. “We are asking government to elevate the Mukongoro unit to Health Center 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 Infection (UTI.) They have hollered themselves hoarse asking for faster and timely delivery to salvage lives.
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,” lamented Oseko. “Your answer is as good as mine if they make it there in time, given the means of transport, in our midst.”
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 way families get labor 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. Binging in the trading centers, is a common occurrence and the youth and other adult victims have few physicians to advise them.
The Citizen Journalists are asking government to upgrade the facility to the status of Health Center IV. This will enable women with more than three children to get services. Pit to dispose waste has been dug, some mattresses are in place but it is not powered to the any power connection.
“Upgrading our Health Center is the only way to salvage people from dying of curable diseases in this century,” said Ekomolot.