Rain piles misery on Buhweju PWDs, HIV patients


What you need to know:

  • The rain that has washed away bridges and damaged major roads in the district, has had a devastating impact on mobility of the PWDs and stopped HIV patients from accessing medical care.

People with disabilities (PWDs) and those with HIV/Aids in Buhweju District have been adversely affected by torrential rain that has hit the area for the last one month, according to authorities.

The rain that has washed away bridges and damaged major roads in the district, has had a devastating impact on mobility of the PWDs and stopped HIV patients from accessing medical care.

Mr Methodius Tuhimbisemukama, the PWDs representative at the district, told Monitor yesterday that PWDs have been left out in terms of accessing social services, including healthcare.

“People are unable to move in and out of the district because roads are now blocked and we are the most vulnerable. Our people would want to go to health centres for treatment, but it is hard for us. Because Buhweju District is hilly with rough topography, the terrain does not favour use of wheelchairs for PWDs,”  Mr Tuhimbisemukama said.

Mr Tuhimbisemukama asked the government to speedly address the matter.

“The money that we used to get from the central government in the form of disability grants was reduced. We used to be facilitated with about Shs5m per group, but it was slashed to Shs3m and when we are to get it, there is a lot of bureaucracy,” he called

Mr Francis Nuwajuna, the secretary for social services, said people with HIV and other chronic diseases are facing difficulties in accessing medication. “The situation has made it tricky for patients on medication to take their drugs at the right time because they can’t access them. This has increased chances of drug resistance,” Mr Nuwajuna said.

He added that the most affected areas include Rubengye Sub-county, where there is no government health centre. People have to walk long distances to seek medical attention because of poor road network.
Ms Scovia Twinamatsiko, a PWD and resident of Rubengye Sub-county, said it is hard for them to bear the inconvenience caused by the rain as much as it is needed for agriculture.

Mr Jonan Nduhuura, a team leader at Centre for Integrated Community Development Uganda, a local non-governmental organisation, noted that due to connectivity issues, the transport fares in the area have been hiked, making it hard for low income residents to move.

The Buhweju chairperson, Mr Deguretius Atuhaire, said the district currently has one motorable main road and the rest are in poor shape. He added that they are also facing drug stock-outs in most health centres.

“The district is cut off from the rest of the country due to rain and impassable roads. We all use one road, which is also breaking at any time. Our people are suffering and even if the roads were okay, there is no way people can get services when there are no drugs. There is a general stock- out. We only have paracetamol in health centres,” he said.

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