UGANDA: MEDIC SEEKS TO PILOT COMMUNITY HEALTH INSURANCE IN NORTHERN UGANDA

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A Community Health Worker receives her kit from FLAMA-Uganda

When medical services were wanting after the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)/National Resistance Army (NRA), know Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) conflict in Northern Uganda, a group of medical professionals decided to form a Non –Governmental Organization -NGO called FLAMA-Uganda to support the vulnerable community who has just come out of the long conflict.

FLAMA-Uganda is an NGO providing health services and supporting private health facilities in providing healthcare services to the community. These help the community to live healthy lives and have time to carryout socio-economic activities.

GULU-UGANDA:Ms. Flavia Teddy Okello, the Project Co-Ordinator FLAMA-Uganda says they are providing healthcare services and supporting health workers in Northern Uganda. She says they decided to offer intervention when they sat down and decided to give services depending on the number of patients which come to their facilities.

“We decided that humanity should not suffer because when the war ended in 2006, health services provider was scarce”.

As an immediate intervention, we trained 72 community health workers to help in providing health information about the importance of family planning, maternal health and reproductive health.

Ms. Teddy Okello said this was to help bridge the gap especially in hard to reach areas where communities were grappling with lack of medical services. She added that community health workers were given working tools like gum boots, bags and medical uniforms to support their work.

“The problem is that we do not have the funding to do health services, however, when the government advertised, we took advantage to join government as health service providers where we are certified to works.”    

Ms. Teddy Okello says Closing the Gap - CTG project provides health insurance in relationship to maternal death which has since been reducing since 2016 and will end in 2021.

Dr. George Odong Olwedo, the Director Health Services, Amuru District says his district is ready to work with Straight Talk  Foundation and FLAMA-Uganda to provide medical services to the people of Amuru since the ministry of health has allowed private health facilities to function alongside government health facilities. 

“Although we are providing private facilities to make profit, the community they are taking their time to socio-economic activities. We therefore pray that the partners services FLAMA-Uganda open as many clinics as possible where there are communities without health facilities. We are asking FLAMA-Uganda to come to our district of Amuru. We are going to allow them go to the communities and mobilize them on health issues.

Dr. Odong Olwedo told the 72 health workers who came to get medical health equipment to go and support the profession. He appealed to them to use the health equipment for the purpose they were given but not to sell it or use it for taking children to school or market because it a water proof.

He adds that it would be very sad if the health workers don’t do the work that that they have been trained for, saying the health kits given to them is to identify them when counseling, many male counselors can get problems when they are on normal duty.

Dr. Olwedo says Amuru district is ready to unveil Community Health Insurances for people who come to seeks medical services, but they do not have money to get free drugs. He says with the Health Insurance Scheme, these people can pay later after selling their produce.

Dr. Olwedo argues that FLAMA-Uganda came in to bridge the gaps in family planning, saying that family planning still have a big gap recording only 35% of women in Northern Uganda have access to, he said FLAMA-Uganda came in to supplement the work of other service providers like Reproductive Health-Uganda to increase this percentage.

He appealed to the health services facilitators to move among the community to find out myths and misconceptions about family planning. Other role is to find out those people who are on family planning, the side effect, how to be treated and popularize the key message of family planning in booklets

Ms. Martha Abwang, the Administration Officer of International Medical Center (IMC) says her organization which is running health clinic in Gulu is not providing Community Health Insurance, but promise that if the pilot Community Health Insurances started in Northern Uganda expands IMC shall provide such kind of medical facilities.

Dr. Sebastian Odong who runs Akot Memorial Hospital based in Gulu says his hospital will start Community Health Insurances in 2021 but added that they have to first mobilize community and developed strategy.

“We are very optimistic to serve our community through Community Insurances; we shall give vouchers to our clients. Those who do not have money will be able to get medical services. When they shall sell their produce, then they will pay later on.” Dr. Odong says.

 

 

  

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