A new research by Twaweza has revealed that in the past six months, three out of 10 Ugandans experienced an accident or injury.
The accidents, the report reveals are either personally (4 per cent), through a friend (12 per cent) or household member (16 per cent). About 53 per cent of the accidents are boda boda related.
The findings were released by the Non Governmental Organisation in a new research brief titled ‘Health Check: Uganda;s experiences and opinions on health services’. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high- frequency mobile phone survey. The data was collected from 1,913 respondents across Uganda in October, 2018.
While launching the brief at Hotel Africana, Kampala on Thursday, Marie Nanyanzi, the Sauti za Wananchi Officer at Twaweza said, “The proportion of accidents attributable to road traffic generally and boda bodas in particular constitutes a public health crisis. In particular these data indicate that there were far fewer injuries before the boda boda phenomenon. They raise questions about whether health budgets, staff and equipment have increased commensurately.”
Broadly, citizens had mixed views about their health services citing more challenges in accessing health care compared to 2017.
According to the research, there has been an increase in the proportion of citizens facing specific challenges in health centres. More citizens complain about long waiting hours (from 72 per cent in 2017 to 81 per cent in 2018), lack of medicines or other supplies (70 per cent to 78 per cent), lack of attention or respect from staff (43 per cent to 55 per cent) and absent doctors (37 per cent to 44 per cent).
It further disclosed that despite the increase in complaints about long waiting times, four out 10 users of health facilities are attended to within 30 minutes. However two out of ten (20 per cent) are still forced to wait more than two hours. The starkest difference however is between government and private/NGO facilities; in government facilities 24 per cent are seen within 30 minutes while in private or NGO facilities, 67 per cent are.
Half of the citizens (56 per cent) also say they or someone they know has been admitted to hospital in the past year. Among these, 62 per cent were admitted to government facilities. Among all patients, almost all of them slept in a bed while they were in hospital. However, four per cent slept on a mattress on the floor and three per cent slept on the floor directly. This is consistent across different facilities. However, in government hospitals, seven per cent of patients shared their bed while in private facilities, two per cent did.
In terms of suppliers in health services, the report says most Ugandans rely on government: 50 per cent of Ugandans sought help from government facility the last time they or someone they know was ill or injured , 29 per cent made use of private or NGO facilities while nine per cent went directly to the pharmacy for medication. In addition, two per cent of Ugandans have health insurance.
“The low level of insurance penetration should be a concern for government. Insurance provides a means for even poor Ugandans to offset health costs, have a choice in health services and alleviate pressure on government facilities. From these citizens’ voices, it is clear that the government should invest in understanding why insurance services have such low uptake and develop strategies, with the insurance and health sectors to expand health insurance coverage to more Ugandans,” said Nanyanzi.
At the same event, Polly Namaye the Uganda Police Deputy Spokesperson said the force has gone into sensitization and devised more awareness campaigns to reduce the accidents.
She said road accidents are mainly caused by reckless driving, excessive speeding as well as overloading.
“We give out express penalties to drivers/riders, not because we hate them but to reduce on the number of road safety offences that could have led to the loss of life,” said Namaye.