100 Hours in Uganda - LIVESTRONG Foundation Study Tour 2014

Source: LIVESTRONG Foundation

By: Loyce Pace Bass

100 Hours in UgandaWe’ve had a great start to what’s shaping up to be a successful study tour so far!

Delegates came ready with energy for a number of site visits and plenty of questions for stakeholders on the ground. Health systems definitely have emerged as a major theme here in Uganda, with human resources topping the list of concerns. The country retains only fifty percent of trained health personnel, which has officials constantly playing catch-up when it comes to bringing new doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff online. Another problem is supplies, from drugs and technologies to basics such as antiseptic and rubber gloves. Providers are hard-pressed to meet the country’s vast health priorities with increasingly limited resources, and this is only becoming more strained with a growing population (expected to triple within the next 15 years) and as the disease burden shifts to include NCDs. For example, there is currently only one cardiologist in the country to deal with the vast number of patients that come through the main hospital’s clinics with complications stemming from hypertension and heart disease.

One bright spot amidst the myriad challenges is Uganda Cancer Institute. During the 40-plus years of its existence, this facility has emerged a leader in cancer research for Uganda, Africa, and the world at-large. Their cases were the first to help identify and address linkages between cancers and infectious diseases like malaria and HIV. They’ve implemented groundbreaking treatment protocols now adopted by oncologists worldwide. But there’s still a ways to go. The director speaks to a persistent missing link with the PEPFAR program, although 60 percent of the Institute’s cases are...

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