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Use land to get good healthcare services – Minister Kwiyucwiny

FILE PHOTO: State Minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny

Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Medical Director of St Joseph Hospital, Kitgum Dr Pamela Atim has called for support to expectant mothers to enable them to cover health expenses and deliver safely from health units.

Dr Atim says that although the health facility serves more than 4,000 expectant mothers to access antenatal services annually, only about 1,200 return to deliver from the health unit. The huge drop in numbers at delivery stems from complaints about user fees, which the population considers to be very high.

The hospital charges 70,000 Shillings for normal delivery and 100,000 for emergency caesarean section. Dr Atim says that due to the subsidized costs of offering health services, the hospital recovers only about 27 per cent of the money in injects into offering such services, yearly.

Speaking during the handover of a refurbished maternity ward at the hospital, Dr Atim appealed to partners to consider reintroducing the Voucher Plus system that subsidized the cost for all aspects of reproductive healthcare. At 4,000 Shillings only, an expectant mother would attend free antenatal, delivery including caesarean section and post-natal care.

The initiative was started in 2016 by USAID, to ensure that poor expectant mothers accessed quality healthcare and family planning services. However, in September 2020, the Voucher Plus Activity was concluded. Dr Atim also tasked the leaders to change the mindset of the community to save money for the future when ill, saying many don’t want to finance their own welfare.

State Minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny challenged the population in Northern Uganda to make good use of government programs such as Emyooga and the Parish Development Model-PDM, to generate more income to finance their healthcare expenses.

Kwiyucwiny said that there is no excuse for the region to continuously be cited among the poorest because they have the most vital factors of production; vast land and human resource.

Kwiyucwiny noted that much as the north does not have perennial crops and enterprises that produce enough for export, they can use the 4-acre model and produce enough to generate profits. Kwiyucwiny argued that the current practice of growing several crops in one garden is not sustainable.

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