The Ministry of Health has distributed equipment worth 138 million Shillings to at least 40 health facilities and all regional referral hospitals countrywide to ease screening of non-communicable diseases.
The Ministry of Health has distributed equipment worth 138 million Shillings to at least 40 health facilities and all regional referral hospitals to ease screening of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
According to Dr. Gerald Mutungi, the head of NCD program at the Health Ministry, most health facilities have not been having equipment to screen NCDs and yet many people are increasingly suffering from them.
The equipment includes 10 HBA1 machines for monitoring diabetes, glucometers for measuring glucose concentration in the blood, weighing scales, BP machines to measure blood pressure, among others. These were procured by Ministry of Health with support from World Diabetes Association.
Dr. Mutungi says that the ministry has prioritized NCDs and every health facility will now ensure that every patient who visits a health facility is screened for diabetes, blood pressure, cancer, among other NCDs.
He adds that the ministry is making an effort to lobby for funding from other partners to ensure that all government health facilities at all levels get these equipment. The ministry reports that the most common NCDs in Uganda are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases.
Others include hypertension, high blood pressure, mental illness, diabetes, injuries, chronic respiratory diseases, as well as oral diseases. He adds that these have caused increasing morbidity and mortality in the Ugandan population. //Cue in: it\'s increasinglyâ€¦//
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Dr. Grace Musimenta, a medical officer at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital says NCDs especially diabetes are becoming a burden to the facility because they are increasingly receiving more cases. She says that although there have been partners who have been routinely screening patients, many people do not turn up because they are ignorant about these diseases.
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Dr. Nathan Onyak, the in charge of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says that the equipment will help patients who have been having difficulties to access treatment and screening from private facilities.
He however says that government needs to add more qualified staff at the health facilities.
//Cue in: The staffingâ€¦//Cue outâ€¦more people.// According to medical experts, risk factors leading to common NCDs include tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and the harmful use of alcohol. Dr. Mutungi says that most risk factors leading to NCDs cited are preventable without incurring expenses but requires individual and community interventions.
According to the Uganda National Household Survey Report 2009/2010, these diseases affect more females than males and are more frequent in populations above the age of 45.
The World Health Organization notes in its 2010 global status report on NCDs, that NCDs are rising rapidly and are projected to exceed communicable maternal, perinatal and nutritional diseases as the commonest causes of death by 2030.