By Joseph Odama
Arua- Locals in Luba Parish in Rigbo Sub-county are facing difficulty to access health services as the only health center has run out of drugs.
The health center has then become a death trap rather than a place where patients could be cured. Olivu health center II does not have direct access of drugs from the ministry of health of Uganda government and the drugs are only sourced from other health centers.
Tereza Bako, a resident of Kwili village, Luba parish says due to poverty many people decide to forego treatment because the health facility lacks drugs.
She says this forces many people to sit back with their sicknesses and end up dying. Drugs for Olivu health center is sourced from Rhino Camp and Olujobo to treat over 70 people who turn up every day.
There are 19 villages from the parishes of Luba and Odoyi in Rigbo Sub County that share Olivu health center II. Many of the health centers have been faced with drug shortages, under staffing, ill-equipment and accessibility. And this has made government to come up with a proposal of closing or merging the health center IIs.
Monica Asibazuyo one of the patients said the center also lacks power to generate light at night which restricts nurses in effectively serving the emergency cases.
Asibazuyo stressed that many expectant women sometimes end up delivering in bushes because there is no nearby health facility offering maternity services in the two sub parishes.
The in charge of Olivu health center, Florence Munduru, says the last time the health center received drugs was three months ago which was between July and October .
“This has prompted the nurses to mostly prescribe drugs to people so that they buy it from elsewhere,” Munduru says.
Munduru added that when there are emergencies at night, they use phone torches or a torch from the watchman to attend to patients.
Charles Onziga, the LC 1 chairman of Kwili village says the number of nurses at Olivu is not enough to cater for the population of over 5,000.
Onziga said the one motorcycle given to Olivu health center, is faced with the challenges of no fuel whenever they would want to go to source drugs from Olujobo and Rhino Camp health center IVs.
Lc3 chairman of Rigbo sub county, Wilson Agele, says several times he has been forwarding challenges facing Olivu health center to Arua district LG but no action have been taken.
He requested ministry of health in Uganda to consider this health center that serves over 11,000 locals. However reasons as to why Olivu was not budgeted for by the ministry are unclear.
When contacted over the matter, Arua District Health officer, Dr Patrick Anguzu confirmed that Olivu has not been budgeted for in the ministry of Health a reason it is not receiving drugs timely.
Anguzu made an assurance that, by 2018, Olivu health center will be included for direct access of drugs from ministry of health as office of Arua DHO continues to push for it.