Job Opportunities

National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS Networks Uganda (NAFOPHANU) in consortium with Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) and Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN) are implementing a Global fund project titled: Supporting Uganda’s Response to HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis Reduction Strategy (UGA-C-TASO) in three regions of West Nile, Acholi and Karomoja. The project has the job opportunities below for immediate deployment:

Deadline: 22 October 2021

Government Must Prioritise Safety of Health Workers to Protect Patients During Covid-19 and Beyond

PRESS STATEMENT

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Government Must Prioritise Safety of Health Workers to Protect Patients During Covid-19 and Beyond

Kampala-Uganda. Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) and partners join the world to mark World Patient Safety Day. At a time when the healthcare system is receiving more patients, the day, which is marked every September 17th (tomorrow), is an opportunity to pause and evaluate their safety. The day has come at a time when CEHURD is running on online campaign, calling for safety in health facilities, under the hashtag, #SafetyInHealthFacilities.

This year’s theme, “safe maternal and newborn care”, is a reminder to deal with the issues mothers face in health facilities, when their safety is not taken care of.

It is estimated that on average, Uganda loses more than 300 mothers per 100,000 live births every year. Furthermore, about 200,000 children under the age of five, due to preventable causes. Considering the significant burden of risks and harm women and newborns are exposed to due to unsafe care, compounded by the disruption of essential health services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign on safety is even more important this year.

It is imperative to note that the majority of stillbirths and maternal and new-born deaths are avoidable through the provision of safe and quality care by skilled health professionals working in supportive environments. This can only be achieved through the engagement of all stakeholders and the adoption of comprehensive health systems and community-based approaches.

The safety of patients is closely related to the safety of health workers. This has been magnified by the COVID pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded all of us of the vital role health workers play to relieve suffering and save lives. In addition to physical risks, the pandemic has placed extraordinary levels of psychological stress on health workers exposed to high-demand settings for long hours, living in constant fear of disease exposure while separated from family and facing social stigmatisation. The World Health Organisation recently highlighted an alarming rise in reports of verbal harassment, discrimination, and physical violence against health workers in the wake of COVID-19. No country, hospital or clinic can keep its mothers and children safe without keeping  its workers safe.

We therefore call on government and health care leaders to address persistent threats to health safety of health workers to ensure safe maternal and newborn care.

On this World Patient Safety Day, we remind the government that it has a legal and moral obligation to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of health facility workers, health facility users and make child bearing a dignified process.  To promote safety in health facilities, we specifically call on government to;

  1. Develop and implement national programmes for occupational health and safety of health workers. This will include appointment of officers specifically responsible for health and safety in health facilities, and reporting and analysing serious safety related incidents.
  2. Protect health workers and health users from violence in health facilities, and promote the culture of zero tolerance to violence in health facilities. This should also provide for implementation mechanisms through which survivors can easily report cases of abuse to responsible officers.
  3. Improve mental health psychological wellbeing of health workers. This includes maintaining appropriate safe staffing levels within health facilities, providing health related insurance to ensure coverage for work related risk, especially for those working in high-risk areas.
  4. Protect health workers and patients from physical and biological hazards.Ensure availability of  personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, as relevant to the roles and tasks performed, in adequate quantity and appropriate fit and of acceptable quality. Ensure an adequate, locally held, buffer stock of PPE. Ensure adequate training on the appropriate use of PPE and safety precautions.

For more information, contact Grace Kenganzi on kenganzi@cehurd.org and copy info@cehurd.org or call 0778 723449 or 0414 532283

It is imperative that we popularize the various contraception methods for young people

Uganda is committed to scaling up the use of modern contraceptive methods to ensure that every Ugandan woman can be able to make a decision of when to have children. On this day it’s imperative that we popularize the various contraceptive methods that are safe and appropriate for both young people and adolescents’ use.

BY MARIANNA KAYAGA –Programme Officer at CEHURD and the President for the Youth Advisory Committee SRHR Alliance.

         

As a young person who was then fresh from campus, I had friends who were sexually active. I really didn’t know much about the need for contraception or the various types on the market. As time went by, I noticed that a number of girls I had studied with showed up pregnant. I simply wondered to myself “why didn’t she ask her boyfriend to put on a condom or even withdraw?” I thought this since these were the only forms of contraception I knew at the time.                                                                                              

I inadvertently became the judge and jury to all these girls who ended up pregnant while we were still in school and under the care of our parents and guardians. This kind of judgment came about because I didn’t have access to information on contraception and neither did I understand or know the circumstances in which these girls got pregnant. One of these girls gave birth to twins and I recall how during classes, her lactating breasts gave off a strange smell let alone the fact that her garments often had patches around the breasts area.

One of my very close friends also got pregnant at the age of nineteen years and the first thing I remember telling her was to get an abortion because it really didn’t make much sense to me for a young girl to be pregnant without having any financial security. She then went through the nine months of the pregnancy but indicated that whole process was really devastating to the fact that she ended up getting a Caesarean section. The midwives said she was too weak to have a natural child birth.

Due to the overwhelming on-going experiences around me I became curious about learning of the different contraceptives and I must say I was privileged to have access to SRHR information through various media platforms, my friends who have unlimited access to information and various easy to read materials.

According to the Oxford dictionary Contraception is the deliberate use of artificial methods or other techniques to prevent pregnancy as a consequence of sexual intercourse. On September 26th  ‘’World contraception day’’ as we usually prefer to call it, it is our mission as young people to spread the word and raise awareness about different contraceptive methods and safe sex. This is to enable both young men and women to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health. As a country we are all going through a crisis and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic, reliable sexual health services that provide a range of options and information are more important now than ever.

Uganda’s total fertility, maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy rates remain among the highest globally. Uganda is committed to scaling up the use of modern contraceptive methods to ensure that every Ugandan woman can be able to make a decision of when to have children. In 2017, Uganda revised its commitment made in 2012 of reducing unmet needs of adolescents from 30.4% in 2016 to 25% in 2021. By improving the number of health facilities or structures in hard-to-reach areas, the government of Uganda strives to expand its reach and provision of services including permanent, reversible and long-acting methods. These commitments will contribute to the nation’s ambitious goal to reduce the unmet need for family planning to 10% and increase the use of modern contraception by 50%.

In Uganda, with national lockdowns and restrictions in movement which meant no transportation by both public and private means, young people could not access their usual services. This has been acute in rural areas which make up 85% of the country’s population and as a result, the numbers of unplanned and teenage pregnancies have immensely risen especially with the closure of schools.

The enormous rise in unplanned pregnancies amongst young people is because there is a huge gap in access to information about the available services, the supply chain of distribution and the overwhelmed health systems diverting resources to the COVID – 19 responses, access to SRHR services for young people including contraception, has been restricted and barriers have increased.

On this day it’s imperative that we popularize the various contraceptive methods that are safe and appropriate for both young people and adolescents’ use. Some of which include combined oral contraceptives, progestin-only pills, Depo-Provera (DMPA) injectable contraceptive, implants and condoms. IUDs are appropriate for young people when they are in a stable and mutually monogamous relationship or marriage. This is to ensure that we reduce the numbers of teenage and unplanned pregnancies both in urban and rural areas.

We Need To Rethink The Safety Of Patients In Our Health Facilities

Considering the significant burden of risks and harm women and new-borns are exposed to due to unsafe care, compounded by the disruption of essential health services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign is even more important this year. For the world safety day 17th September, 2021, we call on government and other stakeholders to act now for safe and respectful child birth under the theme “Safe Maternal and new born care.”

By peter eceru

The media has in the recent past reported cases of abuse of patients, health workers and other health users in health facilities. These included cases of sexual abuse of health workers, patients and care givers with in the health facilities. Relatedly, there have been cases of health workers and non-health workers administering medication with disastrous consequences to the patients. It is against this background that the WHO declared September 17th a world patient safety day to raise global awareness about patient safety and call for solidarity and united action by all to reduce harm. Safety plays an important role in the daily operation of any health care facility. Safety means that there is absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of receiving health care. Effective safety management not only assures employees that they have a safe working environment, but also allows patients to enjoy an atmosphere that is free from unnecessary risks and hazards. Having an effective safety program that addresses pertinent safety issues within the facility, as well as within the community will give the administration confidence that the facility is delivering the highest quality of patient care.

While Uganda committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage, safety which is one of the key pillars continues to be hugely ignored. Patients and other service users will be more comfortable when they are assured of safety when they go to a health facility be it private or public. Safety encompasses the need, use and quality of interventions provided by the health system.

Out of the realization and concern for the safety of patients, the Ministry of Health put in place a Patient Rights and Responsibilities Charter 2009 – an official document that offers guidance on various patient rights and responsibilities in the national health care system. Prominent in the document is the notion of human dignity and the provision of moral ground towards improving standard health services in the country. While the country has an elaborate legislation in relation to safety of patients, the challenge for the country relates largely to the implementation and how health facility administrators construe safety. In most health facilities, Health Facility safety committees have not been established. The law requires that each health facility should have in place a safety committee which is supposed to oversee safety issues and make recommendations on how to better safety in health facilities. Most health facilities have confused this with the Infectious Disease Control committee which have been active because COVID.

The COVID pandemic has demonstrated that the safety of patients is closely related to the safety of health workers. It has also reminded all of us of the vital role health workers play to relieve suffering and save lives. In addition to physical risks, the pandemic has placed extraordinary levels of psychological stress on health workers exposed to high-demand settings for long hours, living in constant fear of disease exposure while separated from family and facing social stigmatisation. The World Health Organisation recently highlighted an alarming rise in reports of verbal harassment, discrimination, and physical violence against health workers in the wake of COVID-19. No country, hospital or clinic can keep its mothers and children safe without keeping its workers safe.

It is important to remind the government that it has a legal and moral obligation to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of health facility workers, health facility users and make seeking health services a dignified process.  To do this government needs to take deliberate actions to ensure availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, as relevant to the roles and tasks performed, in adequate quantity and appropriate fit and of acceptable quality. There should also be adequate, locally held, buffer stock of PPE. Ensure adequate training on the appropriate use of PPE and safety precautions., maintaining appropriate safe staffing levels within health facilities, provide assurance of provision of free health coverage for health workers for work related risks, especially for those working in high-risk areas.

The media has in the recent past reported cases of abuse of patients, health workers and other health users in health facilities. These included cases of sexual abuse of health workers, patients and care givers with in the health facilities. Relatedly, there have been cases of health workers and non-health workers administering medication with disastrous consequences to the patients. It is against this background that the WHO declared September 17th a world patient safety day to raise global awareness about patient safety and call for solidarity and united action by all to reduce harm. Safety plays an important role in the daily operation of any health care facility. Safety means that there is absence of preventable harm to a patient during the process of receiving health care. Effective safety management not only assures employees that they have a safe working environment, but also allows patients to enjoy an atmosphere that is free from unnecessary risks and hazards. Having an effective safety program that addresses pertinent safety issues within the facility, as well as within the community will give the administration confidence that the facility is delivering the highest quality of patient care.

While Uganda committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage, safety which is one of the key pillars continues to be hugely ignored. Patients and other service users will be more comfortable when they are assured of safety when they go to a health facility be it private or public. Safety encompasses the need, use and quality of interventions provided by the health system.

Out of the realization and concern for the safety of patients, the Ministry of Health put in place a Patient Rights and Responsibilities Charter 2009 – an official document that offers guidance on various patient rights and responsibilities in the national health care system. Prominent in the document is the notion of human dignity and the provision of moral ground towards improving standard health services in the country. While the country has an elaborate legislation in relation to safety of patients, the challenge for the country relates largely to the implementation and how health facility administrators construe safety. In most health facilities, Health Facility safety committees have not been established. The law requires that each health facility should have in place a safety committee which is supposed to oversee safety issues and make recommendations on how to better safety in health facilities. Most health facilities have confused this with the Infectious Disease Control committee which have been active because COVID.

The COVID pandemic has demonstrated that the safety of patients is closely related to the safety of health workers. It has also reminded all of us of the vital role health workers play to relieve suffering and save lives. In addition to physical risks, the pandemic has placed extraordinary levels of psychological stress on health workers exposed to high-demand settings for long hours, living in constant fear of disease exposure while separated from family and facing social stigmatisation. The World Health Organisation recently highlighted an alarming rise in reports of verbal harassment, discrimination, and physical violence against health workers in the wake of COVID-19. No country, hospital or clinic can keep its mothers and children safe without keeping its workers safe.

It is important to remind the government that it has a legal and moral obligation to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of health facility workers, health facility users and make seeking health services a dignified process.  To do this government needs to take deliberate actions to ensure availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, as relevant to the roles and tasks performed, in adequate quantity and appropriate fit and of acceptable quality. There should also be adequate, locally held, buffer stock of PPE. Ensure adequate training on the appropriate use of PPE and safety precautions., maintaining appropriate safe staffing levels within health facilities, provide assurance of provision of free health coverage for health workers for work related risks, especially for those working in high-risk areas.

Considering the significant burden of risks and harm women and new-borns are exposed to due to unsafe care, compounded by the disruption of essential health services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign is even more important this year. For the world safety day 17th September, 2021, we call on government and other stakeholders to act now for safe and respectful child birth under the theme “Safe Maternal and new born care.”

The writer is an Advocacy Expert at the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development.

The Youth Transforming Food Systems in the Face of Covid-19

Rumors of the third wave are spreading fast and experts are cognizant of the fact that covid-19 is going to be with us for the long haul and adaptability is very key. One of the ways we can live with it is by preparing our bodies for battle. Wearing the armour of healthy eating i.e making healthy food choices for consumption.

By Miriam Kyomugisha

In the face of the second wave of Covid-19 that recently ravished our country, many youths succumbed to the deadly disease, a very sad turn of events. Following this tragic period, and in relation to this year’s International Youth Day 2021 theme “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health’’, it is evident that some of our food choices as youths directly affects our health. Research shows and proves that when one contracts the virus, the state in which it finds their body contributes a big percentage to how one reacts to it. For instance, a person who consumes healthy foods like vegetables and fruits is most likely to beat the disease. It is public knowledge that a healthy lifestyle in especially feeding, boosts one’s immune system and equips the body with the ability to fight off the virus, viral infections are self-limiting which basically means that the body has to fight the infection on its own.

During the 2021 ECOSOC Youth Forum (EYF), the issues and priorities highlighted by young participants included the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly related to its effect on human health, the environment, and food systems. As part of the official outcome recommendations of the EYF, young participants stressed the importance of working towards more equitable food systems. In addition, they highlighted the need for youth to make informed decisions on food choices through increasing global education on the healthiest and most sustainable options for both individuals and the environment.

The food system is a complex web of activities involving the production, processing, transport and consumption. Issues concerning the food system include the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, the degree to which we waste food, how food production affects the natural environment and the impact of food on individual and population health.

Following the aftermath of many youths dying from the COVID-19, it was discovered many of them had underlying conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. It is now common knowledge that with underlying conditions, chances of beating the disease are minimal. It is of no wonder that youths were affected most by the virus this time around, because of their preference for junk food. It would be of great significance if youths engaged more in agriculture for more production of essential foods in amounts that can ably sustain the masses.

Rumors of the third wave are spreading fast and experts are cognizant of the fact that covid-19 is going to be with us for the long haul and adaptability is very key. One of the ways we can live with it is by preparing our bodies for battle. Wearing the armour of healthy eating i.e making healthy food choices for consumption.

The high demand for healthy foods and the high rates of unemployment among the youth has brought up the question of affordability of the vital foods whose prices have been hiked. What this means is that only the well-off can afford nutritious foods. We need to get to a place where healthy food choices are made affordable to all and prioritized while deciding on what to consume as the youth.

Food systems challenges, especially nutrition-related chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer are major contributors to the global burden of disease.

Celebrate the International Youth Day with us by joining conversations around the world under the hashtag #IYD2021 on Twitter, Webinars, TV and Radio conversations as we explore the role that youths can play to achieve more equitable and sustainable food systems, and highlight the fact that the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.

I conclude by saying that its only when you are sick that you realise you should have eaten healthy! This is me speaking through experience as a covid survivor. ‘’Prevention is better than cure’’ has never been more accurate than in this era of COVID-19.

The writer is a program officer in the Campaigns, Partnerships and Networks programme.