Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng the Minister of Health has said that the war on Ebola is on course and yielding some results.
Dr. Aceng noted that the country is making good progress because positive cases especially in the epicenter districts of Mubende and Kassanda are relatively slowing down.
“For the past 10 days, Kassanda we have not registered any new case and Mubende had gone 18 days without registering any new case until a case was discovered among the health workers,” she said
While she officiated the 2nd National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Conference, Dr. Aceng wondered why some people claim that the ministry is hiding somethings during the fight, reiterating that Uganda is a transparent country.
Dr. Aceng also used this opportunity to tell health workers at the Ebola Treatment Unit in Mubende who are planning to strike that government considers their contracts and soon they will be paid.
Dr. Aceng further said that instead of focusing on setting up hospitals to treat diseases, much emphasis should be put on preventing diseases as this could also help in saving money in communities.
“When communities are empowered and left to handle their health issues, it makes a whole lot of difference rather than emphasizing on clinical care, because in most cases people go to health facilities upon failure on utilizing the systems of prevention in communities” Aceng explained.
The Minister also noted that the best people to address this are the communities them selves and she pointed out the need to empower community health extension workers and VHT’s to do this job.
“The Ministry of Health has started a new strategy to improve on the current Village Health Team’s (VHT) by training them and these based on the parish level will work in conjunction with the existing VHT’s to empower and promote the household concept,” Aceng revealed.
Since the year 2000, VHT’s have been voluntarily working in several communities across the country, and these have been only paid at times of intervention which isn’t sustainable.
According to Aceng the impact of Community Health Extension Workers in communities saves millions when people don’t get sick and this justifies why they are working on improving their skills and wellbeing.
Speaking at the same conference, Dr. Diana Atwiine the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Heath said that health promotion and disease prevention is a responsibility of everyone because if people appreciate this message it will surely yield good results.
She hinted on the integration approach at community level, the implementation structure and also human resource with a clear mindset as these can also help to deliver this strategy.
Dr. Nathalile Mugala the Chief of Africa region PATH who delivered the keynote address called for more investments in primary health care and strengthening it through sustainable health promotion and disease prevention approaches.
Richard Nelson the USAID mission director also emphasized the point of government increasing investments in the primary health care system highlighting that according to the latest National Health Accounts, Uganda’s yearly per capita expenditure on health is USD 36.9 which is far lower than the World Health Organization recommended level of $86.
The second edition of National Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Conference is held under the theme “Strengthening primary health care through sustainable health promotion and disease prevention approaches”.
The two day event was organized in partnership with USAID, PATH, NMS, Unicef, Marie Stopes, the Global Fund among others.