In 2012, Uganda suffered two major hemorrhagic fever outbreaks creating an immediate need for volunteers in hospitals in Uganda to date
First, the dread Ebola hemorrhagic fever hit the remote district of Kibaale in the Western part of the country. As the country was trying to recover from the Ebola outbreak, another deadly disease, Marburg fever broke out in Kabale in South Western Uganda.
Kibaale district is 219 kilometers away from Kampala. Although the district has a main government hospital, it needs more volunteers due to the lack of requisite medical expertise to handle such epidemics.
Specialized doctors and other volunteers in hospitals had to travel from Kampala to camp in Kibaale. Until the disease was fought to the end. Samples would be taken in Kibaale and driven back to Kampala for tests. This same approach was applied to manage Marburg cases in Kabale. And patients suffered because there were no volunteers in hospitals on the frontline to curb these epidemics in any way.
Number of hospitals
The total number of hospitals (public and private) in Uganda is 155. Of these, 2 are National Referral Hospitals (Mulago and Butabika), 14 are regional Referral Hospitals and 139 are General Hospitals.
In terms of ownership, 65 are government-owned, 63 PNFP and 27 are private. And these provide preventive, promotive outpatient curative, maternity, inpatient, emergency surgery, and blood transfusion and laboratory services.
It is widely accepted that health is wealth. This is because good health is a strong foundation on which success and prosperity can be built. Yet, inequalities in access to health care are a major concern in Uganda. And this is one of the reasons why there is a need for volunteers in hospitals of Uganda.
Uganda suffers a chronic shortage of trained health workers and the few trained doctors keep grumbling over their paycheque. Unlike the volunteers who could be there full time just to help the patients recover with smiles on their faces.
Probably this is why 16 mothers die. As they give birth and 131 per 1000children die before the age of five.
Only 38% of health care posts are filled in Uganda. Those health workers within the country have little incentive to work in poor rural areas. And 40% of nurses and midwives are based in urban areas, serving only 12% of the Ugandan population.
This implies that access to health care between rural and urban areas is highly imbalanced and with most Ugandans living in rural areas it implies that their ability to get better health care that is only in urban centers is limited.
Importance of volunteers in hospitals.
With volunteers in hospitals placed in different localities in rural areas, there will be easy access to better health care services. And in fact, the number of medical personnel in hospitals will have increased.
Volunteers in Hospitals can give first aid to patients who are badly off. For example those with injuries from accidents as they wait on the doctors to work on them.
Volunteers also help to transport patients, give directions or escort visitors to see their patients, answer telephone calls. Socialize with patients and visitors and others do some cleaning which eases service delivery in public hospitals.
The need for volunteers in hospitals not only focuses on the hospital benefits but also cuts across the individual benefits. For example; volunteers gain more knowledge in the medical field and how best they can handle patients through health workshops and camps.
We, therefore, appeal to the government to allow more people to volunteer in public hospitals. And work more with trained doctors for better service delivery to all Ugandans.
In addition to that, public universities should give more time for students to volunteer in hospitals during their internships.
If people who are not medics can still volunteer in hospitals in other departments. Like administration, accounts, counseling, cleaning, and many others.
Do you want a suitable hospital to volunteer in? One that allows you to meet people at their points of need? Then we are here for you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org