By Okello Jaspher

AMURU: Some communities in Amuru district are demanding for better health service delivery. In Atiak Subcounty, the residents of Ogomraa village in Okidi parish say they walk long distances to get the required health services.

Geoffrey Oyite says, “Here we experience many challenges. There is no transport to take us to Atiak health centre four”. Nancy Apio, 18, has another concern, “We have few birth attendants in the communities. Sometimes, when we go to the health centres, the health workers tell us there are no drugs. They also complain of salary”. Another resident, 20-year-old Joyce Anena, a mother of 2 and expecting a third child says, “We do not get good health services and connecting with people who should help us is very hard. Sometimes we lack immediate health information”.

Margret Akot, Assistant District Health Officer Amuru in charge of maternal and child health has this response on few males getting involved in the exercise, “It is not about attitude, but you know, this is the season of harvest and some men are cultivating very far from home. When we asked some women, they told us the men are behind the mountains protecting their garden crops like simsim and groundnuts from thieves. Otherwise, in some areas husbands have been escorting their wives for antenatal services”.  

Locals receive free health services in Atiak Sub-county (Photo by Okello Jaspher)

It is against this background that African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Health Africa, a non-governmental organization (NGO) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and founded in 1957 has intervened.

Amuru district’s Program Officer of the NGO with 50 years’ experience in health development and one of Africa’s leading research organizations, Moses Iyereget has spoken about partnering with the Ministry of Health on the outreach.  “We support health facilities particularly in Amuru district to move to communities and undertake integrated outreaches but with focus on reproductive health services, especially safe motherhood, safe deliveries and others. They have access to clean and safe water and toilets since we are fighting open defecation. We have communities we work with to declare them open defecation free”, Iyereget said.

Jacob Ampeire a communications officer at the Ministry of Health says the outreach will continue taking place in areas with hardship to access health services. “We came to these eight districts (in Acholi and West Nile regions), to fill the gap caused by the refugee crisis and where we feel the communities that we serve (poor and marginalized) are not accessing quality health services. We apply the same approach in other districts in other regions that need our help”, explained Ampeire.  

The outreach organized by Ministry of Health and partners targeted hard-to-reach areas lacking better health services. Its target was to help adolescents who walk over 30kms to seek heath services at the ‘nearest’ health facility. End