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Uptake of annual health checks still low -Specialists

Ugandans are adamant to carry out health checkups

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ugandans are still not into the habit of carrying out routine health checkups, despite the government’s plan to shift focus from treatment to disease prevention, according to medical experts.

The government plan was announced during the inaugural National Health Promotion Conference, at the end of the year. During the launch, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng encouraged individuals to among others be conscious of their general health.

In an interview with Uganda Radio Network yesterday, Dr Paul Kasenene, a specialist in nutritional, lifestyle and functional medicine said that being the beginning of the year, many people would be turning up for wellness checks, which, however, is not the case.

He added that there is also still a limited range of things that can be tested for in many health facilities.

To him, irrespective of one’s age, sex and disease history, one ought to visit a doctor once a year.

He said when people keep track of their health even when they develop chronic illnesses like the non-communicable diseases that are becoming a big public health threat in Uganda now, they will be helped not to deteriorate to levels that would be expensive to manage.

Dr David Basangwa, a psychiatrist and Executive Director of Butabika hospital says that while some of the annual health tests are not expensive and don’t require a lot to do, people go without them because they are ignorant about the importance.

He says hospitals in Uganda have been branded to be a place for only the sick, a reason as to why some government facilities have no programs for routine tests and wellness. He says that even for mental wellness, there are tests that people should consider doing annually.

Both experts agree that if the country is to make strides into disease prevention, there need to be aggressive interventions geared towards awareness since there’s a lot of sensational information that lets people make wrong choices about their health.

Dr Kasenene says while many people make New Year healthy living resolutions especially those that aim to lose weight at times end up not making it because of the limitations in knowledge.

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