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The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine, has instructed health facilities to strike a balance between containing Ebola and dealing with other health conditions that are also life-threatening.
Dr Atwine said Monitor over the weekend that other hospital services, including routine vaccination of children against diseases such as poliomyelitis, measles, among other health services, had not received due attention.
“We have other diseases that are claiming lives, so keep vigilance in hospitals on services. Health indicators of coverage are pathetic. What pains us is that remote districts are performing better than those in the urban areas,” said Dr Atwine.
She said measles coverage in the Kampala metropolitan area is well below the required national average of at least about 80%.
“Measles coverage in Mukono district is around 40%, while in Wakiso it is around 30%. This worries us because if these services are not provided they will become a challenge,” said Dr Atwine.
Global health crisis
Dr Patrick Mugurusi, Country Director of Amref Health African in Uganda, said the world is experiencing global health insecurity and infection prevention is the best way to guard against such crises.
“In the future, poor health will be the greatest form of insecurity, we are already seeing that now, and epidemics like bird flu, Covid-19 and Ebola are on the rise. We also know of illnesses linked to poor nutrition, either due to starvation, malnutrition or obesity. We see more injuries. For example, 50% of patients in the surgical department of Mulago Hospital are because of road accidents,” he said.
“People need to think about prevention, how to keep their hands, teeth and body clean, how to avoid getting infected with HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes ? Behavior change can help us get rid of most diseases,” added Dr Mugurusi.
He also said Amref was joining with the Ministry of Health, among other stakeholders, to champion a behavior change campaign aimed at preventing Covid-19 infections.
“We are doing direct implementation where we aim to reach 6 million households. The global campaign, which covers other East African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, aims to reach 3 million people. We encourage people to wash their hands, disinfect themselves and get vaccinated against Covid-19,” he said.