April 9, 2013

Kalangala Struggles To Attract Health Workers

With a 75% deployment of health care workers to Kalangala District, it hoped that the health care service will improve, but there are still concerns that limited harsh conditions in the district could affect their retention.

Kalangala District Health Officer Dr. Hilary Bitakalamire says although the health workers deployed by Health Service Commission are ready to work in the island district, there are limited housing units on the island to accommodate them.

According to Dr. Butikalamire an additional medical officer is also expected to join the district health team, where he has served alone for several years.

Speaking Monday to our reporter on phone, Dr. Bitakalamire explained that retaining health workers in Kalangala remains a big challenge due to the spread of the islands on the Lake Victoria waters.

He hoped that those deployed will stay on to serve a population of around 60,000 residents scattered across the 84 islands.

Speaking on the matter, Kalangala District Information Officer Isaac Mugera said health care workers have to transverse the islands using boats which sometimes are faulty and risky in the turbulent waters.

He says that travelling from one island to the main land could take three hours, yet some of the health needs like delivering babies and treating emergencies are urgent.

However, he was optimistic that some health workers have managed to persevere in the conditions to deliver the much needed services.
One such health care worker is Beatrice Nakachwa, a 27 year old comprehensive nurse who has been juggling between midwifery duties and basic nursing on the Kalangala islands.

Unfortunately, Beatrice had to take a sick leave after she developed a kidney complication and could not work anymore.
She is currently undergoing dialysis treatment at Mulago Renal Unit.
Dr Bitakalamire is the only medical doctor in Kalangala district, and has little time left for patients since he also deals with administrative issues.

In all the 84 islands that make up Kalangala district, there are only 11 health centres, seven of which are located on the main island of Buggala. Of the 11 health centres, only two are level four health centres (HC IV), six are level three (HC III) and three are level two (HC II).

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