By: Ismael Kaasooha
President Yoweri Museveni has hailed Rotary International for offering services to the under-privileged communities in Uganda.
“I would like to hail the spirit of the Rotarians, whose focus on giving service to the underprivileged communities, has made a great impact on people’s lives. In this Rotary year, I appreciate your efforts and focus towards Maternal and Child health through various service delivery and quality health care, donation of medicines, medical supplies and equipment to various health facilities to improve quality of care, refurbishment and construction of theatres, maternity wards and staff houses,” said the President.
The President’s message was delivered by the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja at the handover of 50 Village Ambulances to various health facilities for different communities across Uganda at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The President said that Rotary International has played a great role in complementing government efforts in the health sector.
“I wish to assure you of our total commitment to strengthening of our partnership and cooperation in your various efforts to make the world a better place to live in,” added the President.
He noted that the NRM Government had continued to play its role in improving the wellbeing of the people of Uganda through control and management of epidemics, resource mobilization, development of appropriate standards and guidelines, capacity building, supervision and inspection of health facilities to ensure quality services in the country.
“We recognize that a healthy population is both an input as well as a consequence of social and economic development. The NRM policy on health is to prevent disease through immunization, observing good hygiene, promotion of good nutrition and through provision of curative medicine,” the message read in part.
The President said that it was imperative to note that, there were three main constraints hindering the success of the Government Health program; and in a way, affecting Maternal Health improvement.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality health care as ‘the extent to which health care services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes’. In order to achieve this, health care must be safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable and people-centered. As Government, we have taken health services closer to the people through a tiered health system consisting of Health Centers IIs, IIIs, & IVs; General Hospitals, Regional Hospitals and National Referral Hospitals,” the President explained.
He said that there is an information gap, which affects especially women in rural areas, cultural beliefs, and lastly, the issue of corruption by public health officers who manage these Health centers.
“Government shall continue carrying out its mandate of monitoring and supervision of all Government Departments with the aim of improving service delivery to the population,” he emphasized.
He said that services like Immunization, Reproductive Health Services, Nutrition and hygiene, as well as HIV/AIDS prevention, sensitization, testing, counseling and treatment are available.
“There is no doubt that the Government Health program coupled with other gender focused programs will go a long way to improve maternal health status; and also mitigate the associated problems,” he said.
The president noted that the general trend that had impeded quality health in Sub-Saharan Africa was that medical services were not evenly distributed.
He noted that Doctors and hospitals were majorly concentrated in the urban areas. In order to address the heavy urban/rural imbalance in medical personnel, which had an extremely heavy bias toward the central region, the National Resistance Movement Government had stepped up the services and personnel at Health Sub-Districts and Health Centre IV.
He further said that the construction and rehabilitation of Health Centres I, II, III and IV was one of the many strategies the NRM government had used to bring the services nearer to the people; and in that case, women were the main beneficiaries because of their reproductive and caring role.
He urged Uganda Rotarians to exploit the great potential offered by the rotary network and the goodwill of friends out there.
“Communities in Uganda have been beneficiaries of your good services. Government lauds the cause of Rotary International, as reliable partners in the transformation of people’s lives. I have an assurance that in all Rotary and Rotary International efforts, the dream of having a well facilitated Tricycle Village Ambulance in every village in Uganda will indeed be achieved!” said the president.
The State Minister for Health in charge General Duties Anifa Kawooya asked the beneficiaries to own the ambulances and take care of sustainable use.
“We don’t want to hear that these Tricycles are being used to transport Matooke by acting as ‘Boda Bodas’ but must be put to proper use,” said Kawooya.
The Governor Rotary District 9211 that comprises Uganda and Tanzania, Peace Geoffrey Taremwa asked Members of Parliament to partner with Rotary to buy more Tricycle ambulances to cover all the sub counties in the country.
“If the Members of Parliament teamed up with Rotary International more people would be served with the much needed services to reduce maternal mortality rates. I implore you to talk to fellow legislators to support this cause,” said Taremwa.
The 50 tricycle Village Ambulances will be distributed in some Districts in the country to help in addressing challenges of accessibility to healthcare services especially for the expectant mothers.