First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni has called for reliable supply of electricity to health facilities in the country to curb deaths among women and children. She said that such gaps in the health delivery system which negatively affect health outcomes are a concern.
According to Janet Museveni, without stable power supply it becomes very difficult for health workers to save lives.
The First Lady was officiating at the national consultative meeting of UN women on energy for women and children's health at Speke Resort Munyonyo. She appealed for quick payment of electricity bills in health centers to avoid power disconnections.
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The UN Women Representative in Uganda, Hodan Addou noted that energy poverty is a major concern to health care in Uganda adding that this has been a significant barrier to the attainment of the millennium development goals on health.
She noted that data available shows that many of the countries with the least access to energy are those with the highest burden of maternal and child mortality. Hodan said that 58% of health facilities in Uganda have no electricity and 16% have reliable electricity supply.
She said that lack of energy in health facilities to power lights, health equipment, and refrigeration for medicines and vaccines all contribute to maternal and new born deaths very often from preventable causes.
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World Health Organizations (WHO) Representative in Uganda, Wondinagehu Alemu said that energy is one of the notable game changers in the delivery of quality health services.
He said the traditional sources of electricity for health facilities particularly linking to the national grid or use of generators is a very expensive approach and prohibitive by its self.
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The Director Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health, Jacinto Amandwa said his ministry together with the energy ministry is implementing a project under the energy for rural transformation to connect health IVs across the country.
He said from 2002 to date, 48 health centre IVs have been connected to the national grid. Amandwa however noted that a number of hospitals in the West Nile, Central and Karamoja regions are yet to be connected.
Energy Minister Irene Muloni said they earmarked 5.1 million Dollars to connect power to 276 rural health centers and staff houses under the third phase of energy for rural transformation project.
She noted that currently her ministry is working on a paper on how much government needs to cover all health units in Uganda. Muloni however noted that most of the health centers continue to be inconvenienced by service providers due to huge bills.
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