Health News


Govt to Recruit 3,700 Community Health Workers


The Health Ministry will in the financial year 2017/2018 recruit 3,715 Community Health Workers (CHWs), Prof. Anthony Mbonye, the Director General of Health Services has said.

According to Mbonye, the community health workers will replace Village Health Teams (VHTs) in health service provision in communities. Unlike VHTs that have been working in their villages, the CHWs will be managing parishes and these will be two individuals per parish for the more than 7,000 parishes in the country.

In an interview with PRIME RADIO, Mbonye also revealed that these will be paid a monthly salary of 180,000 Shillings and will also receive motor cycles for transport.

Mbonye says the ministry has started on a process of phasing out VHTs because of the challenges that have been identified with the strategy.

In a survey conducted by the ministry this year, only 60,000 VHTs were found to have been trained to manage patients in communities out of the 180,000 members of the team. Mbonye noted that because of such challenges with the strategy, the ministry has decided to recruit two CHWs per parish giving priority to VHTs that have at least completed Senior Four level.

He added that currently the Health and Education ministries have jointly developed a curriculum for the CWHs and these will have to undergo a one year training.

He also noted that these will be considered as civil servants with a salary and a motorcycle to enable them move from home to home. He notes the new policy on CHWs has been revised to ensure close monitoring and evaluation and that these will be paid depending on the output of their work.

Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director for African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), however, warns the government against introducing a policy that they are not willing to fund. He adds that government should focus on comprehensively training the CHWs.

He notes that VHTs strategy has failed because there was no clear funding source and no close monitoring. He adds that the strategy should be clear with the evaluation and monitoring.


Govt to Buy Cancer Equipment from Best Medical Facility - Museveni



President Yoweri Museveni has said that Uganda will pay for new cancer radiotherapy equipment; months after the one at Uganda Cancer Institute broke down.

Speaking in New York today during a meeting with Andrew Whitman, the Vice President of Varian Medical Systems Global Government, Museveni added that the government will provide a grant to Varian Medical Systems Global to train young Ugandan professionals in cancer and oncology treatment.

"Uganda will pay for the cancer machines and also provide a grant to Varian Medical Systems to train young Uganda professionals on their use. What is important is to recruit young people and send them on government sponsorship for bio-medical training," Museveni said.

Varian Medical Systems Global Government is the leading company in cancer and oncology radiation and cancer treatment equipment worldwide. They manufacture of radiotherapy and radiosurgical devices and software used in treating cancer and other medical conditions.

The President was responding to a proposal by Mr. Whitman on how to finance and procure such equipment, which he said is very capital intensive.

According to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre at Mulago Hospital, Uganda with a population of over 37 million people has one of the highest rates of cancer in the world. The two hardest hit groups are children under the age of 12 and middle-aged adults.

In April this year, it emerged that the only radiation machine to treat patients at the Uganda Cancer Institute had broken down.

Dr Jackson Orem, the director of the Cancer Institute said at the time that it was difficult to repair the machine procured over 20 years ago.

Dr Orem further said that Mulago Hospital had bought a new machine the previous year but that it was still being kept in Vienna, Austria because the hospital did lacked a bunker to house the machine for safety reasons since it uses atomic energy.

The breakdown of the machine put the lives of at least 44,000 cancer patients at risk.

To counter the debate that followed, the then health minister, Dr Elioda Tumwesigyejournalists that government would next year construct the Shillings100 billion bunker to house the new Cobalt 60 machine.



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