Commitment to behavioural change is necessary for sustainable development
Posted Thursday, February 21 2013 at 02:00
We continue to bear a heavy burden of HIV with an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV. The HIV prevalence has increased from 6.8 per cent to 7.2 per cent as shown in the 2011 Aids Indicator survey. Our population growth is ever increasing meaning HIV infections are to rise too.
Today, not a day passes by without a mother or a child dying from a curable disease. This is very sad and with all the right ‘noise’ we are making, we should surely expect more positive change if people embrace healthy lifestyles, where mothers are living to raise their children and where families are thriving because of good health.
There is need to focus our health interventions to impact lives with positive change. We need to focus on the most effective positive and healthy behaviours and reinforce and strengthen them.
Today in Uganda, many people are aware of what needs to be done to achieve better health, in fact they are so interested that they try to do the make the right choices, for example they take their children for immunisation, go testing for HIV, etc. However, majority lose interest after a short while and don’t continue with this positive behaviour.
Our health interventions should aim to ensure that people become concerned about the need for change, become convinced that behavioural change is in their best interest and will benefit them more than cost them. Set up a plan of action that they are committed to implementing and take the actions that are necessary to make the change and sustain it for the long-term.
Focusing on committed adoption of healthy lifestyle will go a long way in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the general health responses.
According to various data sources, the health status of Ugandans has seen limited improvement over the years. We continue to bear a heavy burden of HIV with an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV. The HIV prevalence has increased from 6.8 per cent to 7.2 per cent as shown in the 2011 Aids Indicator survey. Our population growth is ever increasing meaning HIV infections are to rise too.
We need to focus on sustaining behavioural change such as adopting consistent condom use as part of our lifestyle. History has taught us that improving the health of a population is critical for any poverty reduction and economic growth strategy. Adopting positive health lifestyle is important.
As health professionals who help people maintain positive and healthy behaviour, supporting them embrace such a lifestyle is vital. There is poor access to health services across the country, with only about half of the population living within 5 km of a health facility according to ministry of health surveys.
Today, many Ugandans can afford to go to a private health facility for a paid service thus a clear need to address the private public partnership approach of meeting their health needs with wide variations. Clearly, the health status across the board is worsening and there is need for private-public programmes that can achieve measurable and sustainable improvement in this area.
Let us continue strengthening the capacity of our health system so as to maintain a vibrant system that empowers local communities to improve their own health. By doing this we will make a measurable impact on life expectancy especially among mothers and children. There is need to create partnerships that enhance the ability of village health teams, peer educators and different communities to improve their own health.
Let us continuously build their capacity in giving comprehensive information on life-saving behaviours so as to impact on the lives of everyone in the community. By promoting health and preventing diseases we achieve sustained development which is the ultimate measure of good health.
Ms Mirembe is the communications manager at PACE. firstname.lastname@example.org