In Africa, the communities we serve are affected by many health problems which are different from those in the diaspora. African countries suffer from a high burden of diseases including malaria, diarrheal diseases, and non-communicable diseases. Child and maternal health problems are particularly acute. Other health problems are lack of access to health care services due to a variety of reasons including long distance, poor quality services, lack of trained personnel, and poor infrastructure, among others. As of 2013, the Doctor-Patient ratio in Uganda was 1: 24,000 while that of Nurse-Patient was 1: 11,000 and this has not improved.
To respond to these issues, IWA provides health information to members and communities in the UK; sensitize communities on various aspects such as work-home balance; create a structure for supporting elderly members and other vulnerable persons in the UK; sensitizes people specifically on sexual and mental health; and support and refer people with long term illness for care. In Uganda, we sensitize communities on healthy behaviours and practices through our community health outreach programme which we deliver in collaboration with other health organisations and government institutions.
Our long-term plan is to improve medical education in Uganda and to build a state-of-the-art specialist hospital in Teso region, Uganda.
Community Health Outreach Clinics
IWA UK working in partnership with IWA Uganda our lead local partner in Uganda with other stakeholders including the local government and other health NGOs does conduct Mobile Outreach Clinics. The last community health outreach clinic was in Katakwi District, eastern Uganda. Katakwi District was chosen because of its high disease burden compared to the rest of Uganda. In addition, this area was severely affected by war and other inter-communal conflict that displaced thousands of people.
Under the guidance of Katakwi District Health Team, this community was selected because of its extreme deprivation, high levels of poverty among the communities, and its inaccessibility. In fact, Aketa Sub county is a former refugee camp for people displaced internally by war and other conflict. The community suffers from inadequate health services and poor health infrastructure.
In this outreach clinic, we had expected 1,000 people. However, up to 3,500 people turned up for various services including:
- HIV counselling and testing
- Cervical cancer screening
- Malaria testing and treatment
- Family Planning Services
- Safe Medical Male Circumcision
- Health education and promotion
A host of professional health practitioners volunteered to run the outreach clinic and were supported by health professionals from partner health organisations and health workers from the host government health centre. From this outreach alone, we discovered that:
- The prevalence of Malaria is 33%, which is higher than the national average. This finding means that one in three patients at the Out-Patient Department are sick with malaria. This represents a heavy burden to the community in various ways. This finding means that Malaria control efforts must be stepped up.
- The prevalence of Hepatitis B is 17%, a finding which was a big shock because it was higher the national average. From this finding, the need for providing testing services for this deadly viral disease are critically required.
- In this community, the prevalence of HIV is 2%, which is lower than the national average of over 7%. As much as HIV prevalence is lower, intensified efforts to facilitate further prevention and access to care are necessary.
Below is data from the outreach clinic:
|Health Services||No. of Clients|
|General Health Checkups||403||689||1,092|
|Cervical Cancer Screening||192||192|
|De-worming (doses issued)||4400||5600||10,000|
|Antenatal Services (ANC)||43||43|
|Safe Medical Male Circumcision||55||55|
|Male Condoms distributed||300|
|Female Condoms distributed||60|
|Other Family Planning Devices||302|
|Health Education & Promotion||1,500||2,000||3,500|
Overall, we have learned that there is a huge demand for mobile community health services and communities are receptive of health services. Lastly, development partners in health are keen to collaborate in the delivery of mobile health services to poor communities.
Christine Aguti Eye Appeal
Christine Aguti, a young 11-year old girl from Kidetok, Serere – a rural town in eastern Uganda, was going blind and needed a cornea transplant in order to save her sight. A local Newspaper reported her plight and IWA UK working together her lead Uganda partner responded to Christine’s appeal. We mobilised our members, friends and other well-wishers in an intensive resource mobilisation effort was initiated.
Initially, it was intended to raise the UGX 7 million or £1,500 which was the estimated cost of the cornea transplant operation for on one eye. This amount was quickly raised and the operation conducted at a local Eye Hospital in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Unfortunately, organ rejection set in and Christine’s body rejected the cornea; therefore, a second operation had to be conducted, thus dramatically shooting up the medical bill.
In the end, the direct costs paid to Agarwal Hospital exceeded UGX 11 (eleven) million or slightly over £2,000. This does not include the costs for additional medications as well as transport and upkeep. Following a successful repeat procedure, Christine is now able to see and read; though with one eye. Although we were unable to raise funds to operate the second, Christine is at least able to see well with the eye that was successfully operated. Please go here to watch Christine thanking her donors.