Uganda’s current health situation is on the brink of a serious crisis. During the last week, blood shortages in the African country have exacerbated. According to the Daily Monitor, the country is facing a shortage of 140,000 blood units. Certainly, this issue is leaving hundreds of patients unattended to the point of death and it is contributing to the emergence of new diseases. The limited blood supply has been one of the most serious problems in the region. According to the World Health Organisation, 35 out of 75 countries who report less than 10 donations per 1000 people are African. This leaves the region vulnerable to any health crisis.
Mr Gilbert Anguyo, the acting regional director of Arua regional blood bank, argued that the blood shortage is a result of “having a poor attitude towards blood donation,” which has forced hospitals to defer some patients in need of blood transfusion. According to Dr Dorothy Kyeyune Byabazaire, the director of Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, the lack of interest from the adult community is a huge concern. “Approximately 80 percent of the blood donated is collected from pupils and students because they are easy to mobilize unlike the adults,” she said. As this blood shortage worsens, hospitals have been cancelling their operations.
On the other hand, despite the health budget cut from 136tn shillings in the current financial year 2018-2019, Ms Sarah Opendi, state minister for health, reported that extra money was requested to the government to improve health services and prevent further health issues. Also, she dismissed the media reports regarding the dead patients as a result of the current blood crisis. Amidst this crisis, according to the Gradian Health Systems, “the Ugandan Ministry of Health organised a nationwide blood donation drive this week – hoping that a decentralized push to collect blood will help hospitals.”
Whether the issue is the result of a lack of volunteering attitude from adults or an ineffective management from the government. If no actions are taken the death toll will increase, leading possibly to a serious humanitarian crisis. Health is one of the primary concerns for people and it should be for government officials. Thereby, health campaigns should spread along the African region to encourage blood donations and create awareness regarding the importance of blood transfusions. Furthermore, all governments should consider enough budget for the health sector to cover all citizens’ needs. More specifically, they should develop and implement strategies for people to become blood donors, as well as, to consider foreign support in shortage scenarios.
Healthcare has been a major challenge for Uganda. Even though the country has received constantly foreign assistance to tackle this issue, health concerns persist. In the case of blood shortages, there is a particular problem found by many doctors and campaigners, which is the centralization of some health services, such as blood donation. Certainly, this has been one of the major obstacles for adults to mobilize from one region to another for donations. Moreover, the short government’s investment in public health is another issue that has been raised by some campaigners and people. The people’s health should be at the forefront of any national policy implementation.
Uganda is not the only country that has had health issues. The blood shortages are just one part of the many different issues that involve the health sector. In order to build a better world, it is necessary to consider people’s needs first, especially health and well-being. Unfortunately, some countries do not have enough resources to provide all health supplies, or if they do so, it is not effective enough. Thus, it is here where international aid and support are pivotal in providing all humans with the same health benefits they are entitled to.
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