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LIRA: Health Minister halts distribution of assistive devices

Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Aceng while in Lira. Photo via @JaneRuth_Aceng

Lira, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dr. Jane Aceng, the Minister of Health, has halted the distribution of assistive health devices to health facilities in Lira City and the district.

The 3,707 devices are a donation from ReLAB-HS, under a comprehensive five-year program that is responding to the escalating need for physical rehabilitation services in low and middle-income countries.

The devices that include white canes, wheelchairs, crutches, walking sticks, and underarms among others for children, youths, and the elderly were meant to be distributed to different health facilities intended for people with different disabilities.

The demand for Assistive Devices/ Technologies in Uganda stands at 35.5 percent, but only 14.5 percent of this population have the devices leaving a gap of 21 percent which translates to about 12 million people who need one or more Assistive technologies to improve their functioning.

On Saturday, the Minister halted the free distribution program for fear of having the devices given to the wrong people. She ordered that the devices be stored in the City Health store and only one person be responsible for the keys.

The minister the district and city health officials three weeks to register the right beneficiaries of the devices.

RCM Okello Orik, the LCV Chairperson Lira said that if the devices are given to the right beneficiaries, it will help them because the devices are expensive to acquire.

Gerald Okello, the Technical Advisor for Re-LAB HS explained that with Assistive technologies, the beneficiaries will be able to go about with their day-to-day social and economic life.

Daniel Kyabayinze, the Director of Health Services in charge of Public Health explained that efforts are underway to ensure that the government puts waivers on imported Assistive devices

The Re-LAB HS project was rolled out about two years ago with the distribution of wheelchairs.

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