Kasensero Fishermen Decry Poor Access to ARVs

3423 Views Rakai town, Uganda

In short
Some of the fishermen at Kasensero and Kijanebarora landing sites say they walk 20km to go and get drugs from Kakuuto health centre III and Rakai hospital respectively because there are fewer health workers to attend to them.

HIV-positive fishermen in Rakai district have complained of inadequate medical care due to shortage of health workers who can attend to them at the health centres.
 
Some of the fishermen at Kasensero and Kijanebarora landing sites say they walk 20km to go and get drugs from Kakuuto health centre III and Rakai hospital respectively because there are fewer health workers to attend to them.
 
Moses Kabugo, a fisherman at Kasensero landing site, says he tested HIV-positive in 2009 and enrolled for antiretroviral drugs but he finds it difficult to get health workers to prescribe to him the proper medication for HIV/AIDS. He said even going to Kalisizo hospital for drugs is very expensive for him, as he has to pay 120,000 shillings to travel from Kasensero to the hospital and back to the landing site.
 
John Sembuusi, a fisherman from Kijanebarora, explained that there is no government health centre at their landing site but there is a private clinic with only one nurse who cannot prescribe the required medication. He asked the government to establish a health centre which is near the HIV-positive people in the area.
 
The in-charge of Kasensero health centre II, Francis Kato, says the health centre has only six workers who work in shifts. He said that the number of fishermen attended to on a daily basis at Kasensero landing site is very big. He said many fishermen are HIV-positive and about 513 are on antiretroviral treatment.
 
He said that the fewer nurses have no accommodation and they rent in wooden makeshift houses and some of them have been forced to seek jobs in other neighbouring districts.
 
Kasensero is the area where the first Aids case was diagnosed in 1981, but fishermen still find it very difficult to access adequate medical care because some doctors and nurses work at both Rakai hospital and Kasensero health centre II.
 
The LC1 Chairman of Kasensero central zone, Lawrence Muganda, says the major fishing village at Kasensero landing site has a health centre II with a population of about 20,000 people with many of them living with HIV/Aids.
 
Rakai District Health Officer, Dr. Robert Mayanja, says the HIV prevalence at Kasensero landing site has increased up to 41 percent and that of the whole district is at 12 percent, much higher than the national rate which stands at 7.3 percent. He attributed this to men having many sexual partners and prostitution.