Health status of Uganda

Introduction

Health is part of the criterion used to measure the development of the nation, the reason being there is a relationship that exists between the health status of the nation and its performance of economic activities. The level of investment that a country makes towards the health sector is an indicator, of how the country appreciates its economic development. Research reports have established that even though Uganda has managed to record positive economic growth trends of around 7% in the recent past, Uganda has not managed to attain a fully operational health system and it has to go an extra mile to establish a well functioning health system to be at bar with the developed countries in the world.

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There have been a number of programs which have been carried out to address the health sector that is the HIV/AIDS, as regards to the behavioral change, immunization programs for childhood illnesses among other health care programs. These efforts have not amounted to much substantive changes in the health sector. The inequalities in the health sector continue to take place as the other environmental factors like the social economic factors continue to record inequalities, educational levels among others. Therefore, there have been high occurrences of mortality rates for both adults and children as the life expectancy ratio remain at a low level. This research paper will focus on the community health status in Uganda.

Key health indicators

Some of the health indices that are being used to analysis of the community health status in Uganda include the life expectancy of the general population as well as the health care status of the communities. The fertility rates of the individuals can also be used to assess the health status, in combination with the HIV prevalence rates among other factors like the infant mortality rates and the intensity of the immunization programs (World Development Report, 2004).

Health issues in Uganda

According to the research analyses which have been carried out on the health community health status in Uganda, it has been established that most of the health care provision services as well as the other forms of infrastructure lack the necessary resource requirements. This makes most people to be more prone to the risks of not meeting the required health status. The health care systems in Uganda employ the principle of cost sharing in the provision of their health care services, which means that the patients have got to pay for the health care services that they receive in the hospitals. Given that most of these health care services tend to be expensive, most of the people resort to the cheaper traditional forms of treatment.  Because most of the traditional healers are not qualified to carry out the health care services, most patients end up suffering serious effects of the diseases, which in worst case scenarios lead to loss of lives (US Agency for International Development 2003).

The second issue is that Uganda records a high level of infant mortality rates in the world coupled with a low life expectancy rates. The reason for these worst rates is because most of the communities in Uganda do not have access to clean water, which makes them prone to diseases like cholera and diarrhea among many others. On the other hand, malaria and other respiratory diseases have been manifested in the populations of various communities, causing a high number of death cases in the communities. Given that the economic liberation programs are being implemented in Uganda, most of the poor citizens have been unable to have access to the health care services. To make matters worse, there has been little attention which has been focused to the issues of hygiene, women as well as children health and nutrition, among others that put at stake the health status of the communities in Uganda (Sustainable development online).

HIV/AIDS pandemic issue has also emerged to be one of the threatening issues in the health status of the communities in Uganda. The disease has managed to cause a number of deaths in the various communities in Uganda. Given that the health sector in Uganda has not managed to carry out quick responses to the infection rates in some occasions the infection rates have gone high. Even though President Museveni put in place the AIDS Control Program under the arm of the Ministry of Health, the program was not fast enough in carry out its policies and programs thus a more strategic program was established, that is a Multi-Sectoral AIDS Control kind of approach which has been carried out in conjunction with the other programs to eradicate the AIDS/HIV pandemic (Sustainable development online).

 Since that approach was undertaken, Uganda became one of the leading countries in Africa to record the lowest levels of HIV/AIDS prevalence, and also with more applicable efforts in dealing with the pandemic up to this current period of time. Some of the efforts that have been carried out under this program include the introduction of Voluntary Counseling and Testing clinics as well as the promotion of campaigns, which seek to discourage the irresponsible sexual activities between the communities. Though the programs have achieved success in preventing the spread of the HIV virus, questions are being raised as to the ways in which the government is spending the international funds that pertain to this AIDS issue as the levels of the occurrence of the disease has reduced, and yet the some other sources claim that the spread of the disease is increasing (US Agency for International Development 2003).

Health programs and policies

Maternal care programs

Around 500,000 Women and young children in the developing countries like Uganda, die each year as a result of health complications that arise from pregnancy as well as child birth. The deaths are part of the other complications that women suffer as a result of birth and pregnancy. In the case of Uganda, averages of 10,000 females die each year as a result of reproductive health problems. To address this issue the health sector in the government of Uganda has devised programs, which seek to address some of these problems. Such programs include the provision of sufficient antenatal as well as postnatal care to women and girls of child bearing age. There are also emergency obstetric care programs, which include the caesarean section as well as the post abortion medical attention. Family planning programs are also part of the health programs in addition to HIV/AIDS education programs for both infected and uninfected women and girls. In addition to that the issues to do with infertility have formed part of the health programs in Uganda (MNPI online).

The MNPI index that is the Maternal and Neonatal Program Effort Index is being used to measure the level of reproductive health programs. This rating index has established that Uganda is moving towards sustaining a strong policy, which safeguards the health of women. With all these programs in place, the women and the children have managed to have access to health care products although the women in the rural areas have a problem in getting access to these services. Accessibility to these services is one of those issues which need to be addressed when carrying out these programs. In conclusion, just like other developing countries Uganda faces the problems of scarcity of resources from either the private or the public sector to carry out the maternal health care programs (Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 2006).

Malaria programs

Malaria being the leading cause of deaths in Uganda has been focused on by both the private and the public sector, so as to reduce the levels of occurrence of the disease and if possible do away with it. The government of Uganda has introduced policies that administer the treatment of malaria, whereby there government shifted the treatment of malaria from the use of chloroquine as well as sulfadoxine pyramethamine, to more simple treatment means that use Artesunate combination therapy among others. These treatments are made available in the various private sector health institutions and government health institutions as well as the community distributors (World Development Report, 2004).

The Health Communication Project body within the government is responsible of providing the necessary technical assistance to the malaria control programs, which are being carried all over the nation of Uganda. Much attention is on the updating the various government policies, that the government is carrying out with its partners in dealing with malaria. These activities involves the posting information to the malaria control council website, and establishing written materials that seek to communicate information on malaria policies and control programs (MNPI online).

Other policies and programs

As far as the children are concerned, the programs which are being undertaken include those that seek to address the plight of orphaned children as well as other vulnerable children. Some of the strategies which are being carried out include offering financial assistance in terms of school fees to the orphans of school going age, and also involving the guardians of those children in income generating activities. As for the older orphan children, they are provided with apprenticeship programs, whereby with continued support the children they are able to generate income that will support these orphans. Examples of these projects include the Soroti school health education, which focuses on the issues to do with HIV/AIDS. The environmental health unit is also part of the programs as well as the Mukono district health services project among many others (Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 2006).

Considering the example of residents of Hoima and Kibaale districts, who have been experiencing a number of health problems they are now benefiting from the health units, which have been established by the government in collaboration with the foreign aid agencies. The health units have been equipped with the necessary health equipments that address the issues of malnutrition as well as the health status. The communities have been involved in training programs, which cover the areas of community health care and are being undertaken by the child health workers as well as the traditional birth attendants. These projects have sought to address the issues of promoting the overall national health management system. The other areas that are addressed in these projects include the immunization programs especially for the childhood diseases like polio and many others. The programs have also supported the drilling of boreholes, wells and other sanitation structures like toilets in a number of primary schools in the two districts that is Hoima and Kibaale (Lindstrand et al 2007).

Rehabilitation programs for farm land have also been carried out to ensure that more farming land is put into use, to increase agricultural production that will eliminate the health problems that are associated with malnutrition. To support the farmers in carrying out the farming practices, the civic leaders and other beneficiaries have been urged to provide the necessary support to the farmers in doing away with poverty issues that cause diseases (World Development Report, 2004).

Following the implementation of these programs, there has been an increase in the community involvement in the issues to do with health programs within the communities. The level of occurrence of the diseases has dropped, as most of the community members have managed to maintain high levels of cleanliness. On the other hand, there has been an increase in the contributions which are made towards community capacity building, which have improved community based activities. Thus the overall effect of these programs is that, the standards of living of the residents of the various districts in which these projects have been implemented has improved tremendously (Lindstrand et al 2007).

Conclusion

From the above analysis, it is evident that the community health systems in developing countries taking the case of Uganda require adequate treatment in the public health policies and programs. A number of indices that are used in assessing the health status of the community are analyzed, as well as some of the policies that the government of Uganda is carrying out to address the health issues which emerge in its economy.

Word count 2004

References

Foundation for sustainable development. Health issues in Uganda. Retrieved online: http://www.fsdinternational.org/country/uganda/healthissues

Lindstrand A, Bergstorm S, Rosling H, Rubenson B, Stenson B, Tylleskar T (2007). global health: an introduction textbook. Narayana press, Denmark

MNPI Maternal and Neonatal Program Effort Index: a tool for maternal health advocates. Retrieved online: http://www.policyproject.com/pubs/MNPI/Uganda_MNPI.pdf

Uganda bureau of statistics (2006). Uganda demographic and health survey.

US Agency for International Development-Bureau for global health. Uganda country health statistaical report 2003. US Agency for International Development.

World development report (2004). World Bank, oxford university press. Spotlight in Uganda.

 

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