Ugandans Encouraged to Seek Specialized Medical Care at Home

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Uganda Ministry of Health has urged citizens to seek specialized medical care within the country rather than traveling overseas. The curative services director, Dr. Charles Olaro, emphasized the growing capacity in surgical procedures, such as orthopaedics, heart surgery, and more. A health fair is being planned to showcase the country’s medical capabilities.

Health ministry curative services director Dr Charles Olaro says both the public and private sectors have gradually increased their capacity in several areas, notably in surgical procedures.

The health ministry has advised Ugandans not to travel overseas for specialised medical care, because, according to it, the nation is now able to provide such services.

Health ministry curative services director Dr Charles Olaro says both the public and private sectors have gradually increased their capacity in several areas, notably in surgical procedures.

“We have developed capacity in different areas virtually in surgical procedures like if you look at orthopaedic, total knee or hip replacements, spinal surgery and heart surgery, among other procedures,” he adds.

He emphasizes that there is no longer a need for patients to spend millions traveling for medical care because the same services can be provided domestically at a relatively low cost.

According to him, many Ugandans have been travelling owing to a lack of information.

“There is a need to inform people and also build confidence among Ugandans that these services can be accessed here at probably a much lower cost with better results than what you even get outside the country,” he adds.

Olaro says because of this, the ministry is currently preparing to host a health fair, where they hope to show their capacity.

“I think COVID-19 showed us that we need to build our own capacities here, that you probably don’t need to be flown abroad. You can get the best services in the country. The capacity is there, and what we need is to increase the number of specialised trainees in the country,” he added.

He made the remarks on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, during the opening of the Mulago National Referral Hospital’s high-fidelity simulation centre for emergency medical training.

Total Energies EP Uganda (TEPU), in collaboration with the Makerere University College of Health Sciences, established the approximately shillings 500 million facility at Mulago National Referral Hospital.

Olaro pointed out that more and more fellowships are being offered in fields such as anaesthesia, clinical care, urology, surgery, and brain surgery.

“So, almost all these fellowships you are able to do here and only a few courses which you can do abroad,” he added.

TEPU general manager Philippe Groueix said: “We are honoured to contribute significantly towards the development of emergency medicine in Uganda, especially when the country is scaling up oil and gas activities which create a need for skilled health workers to provide care on remote sites,” he added.

He stressed that this also complements ongoing efforts by the company to support the establishment of Uganda’s first ambulance station at Naguru.

Petroleum Authority of Uganda executive director Ernest Rubondo said the facility would improve the readiness and capacity of medical staff to respond to health emergencies.

He added that they are confident that the facility would also be extremely helpful to the oil and gas operations, which have boosted the demand for competent healthcare workers.

The deputy vice chancellor for finance and administration at Makerere University, Prof. Henry Arinaitwe, noted that the trainees will mimic real patients by utilising simulated patients.

The centre has three simulation rooms resembling an emergency room, ICU and operating room, monitoring equipment, medical supplies, and realistic props.

It provides a safe environment to practice and refine essential skills, such as patient assessment, critical thinking, and communication for the trainees.

The acting executive director of Mulago National Referral Hospital, Rosemary Byanyima, said the facility will give trainees experience with mock patients before they handle actual patients.

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