Nursing assistant battles alone with health centre serving 14,900 people
There is only one trained nursing assistant battling alone with the big Kamion Health Centre II in Kamion sub County in Kaabong district.
The health centre in a day receives about 400 patients with different illnesses. The situation at Kamion is a gross illustration of the state of Uganda’s health system; the lack of enough medical personnel in health centres especially upcountry.
“Some of the diseases that I fail to manage I refer them to Kaabong hospital, which is about 37 kilometers,” says Gabriel Lotimong, the said nursing assistant.
Mr. Lotimong, who’s running the health centre II alone, also says it is the only one health centre in Kamion Sub County, which has a population of about 14,000 people.
He says that though the centre has never run short of drugs, he’s overloaded. “When I’m called for a meeting in Kaabong district, I first lock the health centre because there is no body to remain attending to patients,” he says.
The district health officer Kaabong, Dr. James Kisango, says the district generally lacks health workers. “We don’t have personnel to send to help in Kamion health centre II. That’s why it’s only one nursing assistant running the unit alone”, he explains. Kisango adds that the district has no money to recruit trained health workers, but promises that by next month, the district will have got funds to recruit more staff.
The health unit is helping the Ik community, an extra marginal group with a population of 7,000 people, who inhabit the mountains of the far north east, about 37 kilometres away from Kaabong district, between Uganda, Kenya, and Sudan.