Uganda has adequate condoms in stock. The Ministry of Health says it has enough condom stocks to last for about half a year. This comes on the backdrop of reports of recent condom shortages in some parts of the country. Appearing before Parliament’s Health committee today, the coordinator of the ABC desk at the ministry, Vastha Kibirige told MPs that the last condom shortage last year was due to delays in the pre-testing exercise which was rectified. Kibirige however says the ministry requires funding to clear about 280 million condoms this month, with a batch containing 450 condoms requiring about Shs 700,000 to be cleared.
The shortage of Anti-Retroviral drugs in several hospitals is real. People living with HIV/AIDS say that they are already feeling the pinch with many being turned away by doctors. The National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS advocacy officer, Margret Happy says Busia district has been worst hit with hospitals now running to nearby clinics. She is now appealing to the ministry of health and the National Medical Stores to identify the affected districts and send drugs as soon as possible. Last week state health minister, Elioda Tumwesigye acknowledged the shortage attributing it to the increasing numbers of new cases of HIV infection.
In a move meant to improve hygiene in hospitals, government is working on a modern sanitation system to eliminate many pipes. The State Minister for Primary Health Care Elioda Tumwesigye says this new system will help reduce cases of blockage and general poor sanitation that have in the past plagued many of the government health facilities. According to a desk study carried out by The Water and Sanitation Program, Uganda loses Sh.389 billion annually due to poor sanitation. The report further indicates that the economic burden of poor sanitation falls most heavily on the poorest.
Mothers living with HIV/AIDS need to be supported to exclusively breast feed their babies. The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has pledged support to these mothers to ensure good health for the infants. He has promised to direct Members of Parliament to roll out breastfeeding campaigns in their respective constituencies. Relatedly, Health Minister Rukahana Rugunda says babies who are exclusively breastfed have higher chances of living longer compared to those who are not. The remarks were made at the official launch of the World Breastfeeding week that kicks off tomorrow.
Mental health experts warn that breast feeding mothers who smoke are at risk of developing severe health complications that may lead to death. They say such mothers also expose the breastfeeding babies to different complications and they are more likely to die before their first birthday. A senior consultant psychiatrist at Butabika Hospital Dr. Julius Muron says the poisonous chemicals consumed by the mother go directly to the baby. Dr. Muron notes that such babies are always malnourished, sickly and always have abdominal pains that may lead to their death. He is now advising breasting mothers to strive to adopt health habits for the sake of ensuring normal lives for their babies.