Friday July 13 2018

Prioritise both preventive and curative strategies

Patients await services at Amaler Health Centre III in Nakapiripirit

Patients await services at Amaler Health Centre III in Nakapiripirit District. FILE PHOTO 

By Editor

Media reports on Monday indicated that government has changed its health intervention strategy from curative measures to focusing more on health promotion and disease prevention. Government believes that refocusing the intervention is the best approach in fighting the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), often referred to as lifestyle diseases that include diabetes, obesity, cancer and hypertension.
To buttress this shift of stratagem, President Museveni on Sunday launched the annual National Physical Fitness Day in Kampala. The day is meant to raise awareness in the population about prevention of NCDs in the country. NDCs mainly refers to diseases that cannot be spread or transmitted through body to body contact.
It is instructive that the government has taken such a drastic shift in the fight against NCDs, which have and continue to cause untold suffering to our people, with others even passing on as a result. Many Ugandans, no doubt, suffer from NDCs due to avoidable lifestyles they lead ranging from eating junk food, consuming sugary foods and drinks, to failure to engage in physical exercises. Therefore, the government’s new intervention in health promotion and disease prevention couldn’t have come at better time.
Nevertheless, it is critical that as the government prioritises preventive intervention, it does not lose sight of the dire need to enhance the curative strategy. In fact, both curative and preventive approaches should be seen as twin measures that should attract equal government attention in terms of funding, recruitment, distribution, etc.
While doing exercise will help to reduce NDCs, government must still ensure that public health facilities are well stocked with medicines, supplies, equipment and staffed with fully motivated doctors and other health workers to provide curative services.
Yes, physical exercise is crucial, but hospitals should also be equipped to effectively handle non-lifestyle diseases such as malaria, dental and optical complications, and diseases requiring operations such as hernia, etc. In short, Ugandans should be able to access proper, deserving and an all-round treatment at all health facilities across the country. So the language and priority of government should be diversification and not shifting of health intervention.
What has bedeviled the health sector is the poor state of our public health facilities right from the referral hospitals to the health centres. Like the President thanked the Ministry of Health for waking up at last to sensitise people about the need for exercises, he should also urge them to improve supervision of hospitals and ensure that patients find doctors and nurses to provide them appropriate treatment.