Increase health budget to serve citizens better

Saturday January 25 2020


By Editorial

Daily Monitor reported on Thursday that Kitgum General Hospital is experiencing a host of problems that have hindered deliverance of services.
The hospital administrator, Mr Bezzy Omoya, said the only X-ray machine broke down two weeks ago, bringing services to a standstill.
He said Ministry of Health had been informed immediately after the breakdown of the machine, but response to the situation was slow.
Mr Omoya added that very few X-ray films are delivered to the hospital that serves Kitgum and neighbouring districts.
The hospital is also facing a shortage of drugs and staff. It lacks the capacity to recruit a radiographer to operate the X-ray and ultrasound machines.
The hospital currently has only one radiographer who was employed by a non-governmental organisation, International Rescue Committee.
Kitgum General Hospital’s plight is unfortunately shared by many other government hospitals and health centres countrywide.
There is a shortage of medical personnel in most government-run health facilities. Many doctors and consultants seek employment in other countries because of meagre pay offered by the government.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that the recommended doctor to patient ratio is 1:1,000, which means Uganda needs at least 40,000 doctors for its estimated 40 million people.
Most hospitals are also grappling with the problem of congestion in wards. Patients are forced to sleep on floors and verandas.
Drug stock-outs in government hospitals are a common occurrence, endangering the lives of patients.
We call upon the government to increase the health sector budget to enable it to adequately cater for the needs of citizens. Hospitals should be adequately stocked with drugs and medical supplies.
The remunerations of health workers should also be made attractive to stem the rampant brain drain.
Currently, Ugandans fly abroad to be treated by Ugandan specialists employed in foreign hospitals.
These services can be accessed at a cheaper price if government makes an effort to motivate Ugandan doctors to serve in their country.
Furthermore, government should construct more wards in hospitals and adequately equip them with beds.
It is the duty of government to provide adequate health services to its citizens. A healthy citizen is important to the development of a nation as a sickly person cannot realise his or her full potential.

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