Healthcare in Uganda
Uganda continues to have one of the best healthcare systems in Africa. In the 1980s, the nation had a reputation of possessing bottom tier medical management compared to the rest of the world. However, government officials worked tirelessly to provide the necessary medical equipment to combat diseases and curb infection rates. The Ugandan healthcare system eventually became one of the strongest on the continent. Here are 5 ways healthcare in Uganda is continuing to improve.

5 Improvements to Healthcare in Uganda

  1. HIV Reduction: Uganda is one of a small number of countries that was able to reverse the harmful infection rates of the HIV epidemic. At one point during the 1990s, the nation had an infection rate of 18-30% in its population. However, this number slowly went down to as low as 6.5% in 2016. The Government of Uganda worked with multiple organizations, including UNAIDS, to help maintain a low number of infections. Officials also invested in properly educating the people on how to better protect themselves from contracting the virus.
  2. Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR): The nation has started to see a major reduction in MMR over the last several years. This is due to a few factors, including adopting the Saving Mother Giving Life or SMGL model. According to the WHO, Africa has an MMR average of 561 per 100,000 births while Uganda’s rate is only 343 per 100,000 births.
  3. CDC Assistance: The CDC has aided healthcare in Uganda in many ways. In 2018, the organization helped an estimated 608,000 people by providing them with life-saving antiretroviral treatment. Moreover, the CDC’s team helped implement a national biosafety level 3 reference laboratory for viral hemorrhagic fevers. The lab assisted in the detection and providing confirmation about VHF outbreaks in the nation.
  4. Poverty Line Reduction: A lack of resources due to poverty still limits the progression of healthcare in Uganda. The poorest of the country make up a majority of visitations facilities receive because they are more susceptible to diseases. However, Uganda took steps to lower the effects of poverty starting around 2006. Over the next seven years, the poverty rate declined from 31.1% in 2006 to 19.7% in 2013. Moreover, Uganda continues to work on providing healthcare to the poor in rural areas. The country is focused on ensuring medical treatment access to non-Urban Ugandans.
  5. Combating COVID-19: The Ministry of Health in Uganda placed guidelines to prevent COVID-19 from spreading throughout the nation. The country experiences very low numbers in confirmed cases compared to the rest of the world. The officials made several posts on their website about health guidelines they should follow when visiting the hospital to seek treatment if infected.

While Uganda has witnessed improvements to their healthcare system, there remain obstacles. One of the primary ones is the lack of medical resources needed to be placed at the top tier level with countries like the United States in medical advancement. The Government of Uganda continues to seek aid and find other ways to help its people receive the best treatment they can provide. With these efforts, hopefully healthcare in Uganda will continue to improve.

Donovan Baxter
Photo: Flickr

healthcare in UgandaResidents of Uganda’s rural areas are challenged in finding accessible healthcare facilities. Without organized transportation, many Ugandans must walk or ride their bicycles to a health center. However, many Ugandan health centers cannot guarantee having the medicines or other services necessary to these patients. Fortunately, efforts are being made to improve healthcare in Uganda.

In June 2017, President Yoweri Museveni launched work on a $250 million hospital that will be located in Lubowa. The hospital will ensure that Ugandans no longer have to travel abroad for organ transplants, cancer treatment and heart surgery. The hospital will operate as a 264-bed facility with ultramodern health facilities. President Museveni adds that the hospital could promote Uganda as a destination for medical tourism.

In September 2017, the Merck Foundation committed to a long-term partnership with Uganda’s government that could build the country’s healthcare capacity. The partnership will specifically focus on Ugandans’ struggles with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and infertility. The Merck Foundation also emphasized a commitment to work with Uganda’s Ministry of Health because of the country’s great strides in building regional centers of excellence for fertility and cancer.

The Merck Foundation and Uganda’s Ministry of Health also visited western Uganda’s rural villages where a campaign has established various projects to support infertile women. The Merck Foundation gave an oxen plow, poultry farms and table banking projects to the women in order to socially and economically empower them. “One of my most fulfilling moments is seeing these childless women lead happy and independent lives,” said Merck Foundation CEO Dr. Rasha Kelej to Africa Business Communities.

The Merck Foundation also committed to supporting the training of embryologists and fertility specialists at Uganda’s new Women Maternal Hospital. The organization will also support the hospital’s establishment of Uganda’s first public IVF center. The center aims to improve access to cost-effective fertility care across Uganda and the rest of Africa.

In November 2017, XSML (Central and East Africa’s fund managing company) announced plans to finance Ecopharm, a Ugandan medical center. “With this financing, Ecopharm will be able to reach out with additional pharmacies in new neighborhoods in Kampala,” said Jarl Heijstee, XSML’s managing partner. XSML’s financing will also help Ecopharm serve Uganda’s thousands of customers with high-quality pharmaceuticals.

Healthcare in Uganda has become a growing concern for the U.S. as well. On Jan. 3, 2018, the U.S. Agency for International Development launched a $28.3 million activity to strengthen the Acholi region’s health services. The Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Northern Uganda, Acholi (RHITES-Acholi) activity will increase Uganda’s healthcare provider availability, promote effective equipment maintenance and improve health services management.

On Jan. 16, 2018, the musician Diddy announced plans to donate $200,000 to the Unforgettable healthcare campaign that is improving Uganda’s Suubi “Hope” Health Center. This initiative was begun by French Montana after filming the video for “Unforgettable” in Kampala. “In addition to passing the torch to French, I’m showing my support for the work he is doing in Uganda,” said Diddy.

Diddy’s donation is also in response to French Montana and The Weeknd’s donations that each totaled $100,000. The three artists’ combined donations of $400,000 will help build Uganda’s maternal healthcare facilities that include a birth house, prenatal care clinic, new ambulance and more. “It’s important to give back, it’s important to be an agent of change,” said Diddy in the PSA video announcing his donation.

Financial stability is crucial to improving Uganda’s health services. The Merck Foundation’s long-term partnership with the country will continue to help Uganda’s patients and medical facilities. Assistance and aid from other entities will also play a key role in improving healthcare in Uganda.

– Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr