Partner, 22 March 2022

Site Visit of the NCD Commissioner from the Ministry of Health

Dr. Oyoo Charles Akiya is the newly appointed commissioner of non-communicable diseases from the Ministry of Health in Uganda. He visited the Balamu Project and Nakaseke Hospital NCD clinic to understand our work regarding non-communicable diseases management and care in Nakaseke District. His visit cements the relationship between the Balamu NCD projects and the Ministry of Health Uganda.

The team explained to the commissioner how the Balamu project has supported the NCD clinics in the management and care for the NCD patients and this support include; setting up of an EMR system that manages patients flow, keep patient data and made reporting to the District Health Information Software 2 very easy for the NCD clinic. The Balamu project also provided staff that helps in the treatment and management of NCD patients every clinic day. The project has also gone ahead to train and build capacity among each facility health workers in NCD management and care in the rural community of Nakaseke. It has trained and build capacity for the community health workers to screen, refer and follow-up with NCD patients in the hard-to-reach communities.

Nakaseke Hospital NCD clinic

The team also discussed current challenges faced by patients with the commissioner. The major challenge is the limited NCD medications and supplies that are never enough for the growing number of NCD patients. The clinics treat patients that move long distance but on reaching the clinics they are disappointed when they have to go back home without any medication.

Most patients are given prescriptions to procure drugs from community drugs shops but these are normally extremely expensive and hard to afford. The long distance to the clinics was also identified as a challenge that cause some patients miss scheduled clinic visits. The NCD clinics are conducted once every week because of limited space. The same space is used for other clinics yet the numbers of NCD patients seeking care increase every single day. The quality of care might be compromised in the clinics due to the huge numbers of patients seen by the few health workers on a clinic single day.

The commissioner commended the Balamu project for the services it is offering to the people in rural communities of Nakaseke district. He assured the team that Ministry of Health will support the increase of the NCD medication supplies for the growing numbers of NCD patients. He will provide a platform for the Balamu Project to disseminate its Research findings that can help to form policies at the Ministry of Health Uganda.