Health workers in the Karamoja sub-region are facing significant challenges in providing essential health services to the population due to persistent insecurity and poor road networks. The insecurity and poor roads are particularly affecting health workers’ ability to reach people in remote villages.
Dr. Salome Tino, the Abim District Health Officer, says that insecurity and poor road networks have frustrated their efforts to deliver health services to people in remote villages.
According to Tino, the insecurity has made roads unsafe, and health workers are now unable to conduct community outreaches for fear of their safety.
Additionally, the frequent attacks on health facilities by suspected Karimojong warriors have forced health workers to flee the areas, with many unable to return to their respective areas of work. Tino added that they now rely on security forces to escort them to the field, which can also be risky, given that the warriors are hunting for guns from the same security officers.
Joseph Lomongin, the Kotido Chief Administrative Officer, said that insecurity is affecting most government programs, making it difficult to carry out community mobilization. Schools and health facilities are the most affected institutions, scaring away government staff from executing their duties.
Lomongin noted that fighting diseases like malaria is becoming a big challenge because the village health team cannot access distant villages that are prone to insecurity.
Oscar Paddy Ochero, the Katikekile Sub-County Health Inspector in Moroto district, said that village health teams are helping to manage cases of malaria in communities where health workers cannot access it. However, he noted that the teams face challenges, including the inability to prescribe medication, poor road networks, and current heavy rains, which make it difficult to respond quickly to disease outbreaks.
Fardosa Ahamed, the Napak Deputy Resident District Commissioner, observed that the village health team also struggles with the poor road network, lack of transport, and insecurity in executing their duties. Although the village health team is helping to extend health services to the population, the challenge of insecurity has not spared them. She called for the team’s motivation to ensure that they can execute their duties effectively.
Cecilia Puron, a Member of the Village Health Team from the South Division in Moroto municipality, noted that they face resistance from parents who do not want their children to be treated with modern medication and prefer local herbs. They also find it challenging to trace children in the kraal to give medication, especially those infected with malaria.
In 2022, the authorities in Kotido district were forced to withdraw health workers from the area due to the increasing insecurity, further exacerbating the already dire health situation in the region.