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HEALTH CHECK: Ugandans’ experiences and opinions on health services

Mulago Hospital facility, one of the government hospitals where many Ugandans seek medical assistance. (PHOTO/File)

Insights about health facilities in Uganda

KAMPALA-Ensuring the good health of citizens is a challenge for any government. The costs of illness on an individual, their family and colleagues can be huge – both in terms of the direct cost of medical treatment and lost income and opportunities.

According to a recently released survey by Twaweza, a Non Government organisation (NGO) that has a regional presence in East Africa , five out of ten citizens (50%) went to a government health facility the last time they or a household member in their family suffered an illness or injury.

Three out of ten (29%) went to a private or NGO health facility.

The numbers who seek treatment from government facilities has remained steady since 2017, but the number of patients who first seek assistance from a private facility has risen slightly over this time from 24% to 29%.

According to a report by Twaweza an NGO that has a regional footprint across East Africa has revealed that half of the Ugandan citizens go to government health facilities.

Citizens in rural areas (53%), poorer citizens (58-60%), and those with lower levels of education (57%) are more likely to use government facilities – compared to half (50%) of the population as a whole.

Similarly, wealthier citizens (39%) and those with secondary or higher education (37%) are more likely to turn first to a private facility – compared to three out of ten (29%) of the population as a whole (not shown in charts).

The brief presents data on citizens’ views on health services. Where do they prefer to seek assistance when they suffer from an illness or injury?

What kind of treatment do they receive , and what problems do they encounter? How many have suffered accidents, and from what cause (s)? And how many have any medical insurance to help meet these often unexpected costs?

Data for the brief comes from Twaweza’s new Sauti za Wananchi survey. Sauti Za Wananchi is a nationally representative, high-frequency mobilephone panel survey.

Information on the overall methodology is available at www.twaweza.org/sauti

For this brief, data was collected from 1,913 respondents in the seventh round of calls to the Sauti za Wananchi panel, conducted between October 16 and October 26 2018.

The key findings are as follows;

-Half of citizens first turn to government health facilities when they fall sick or are injured.

-The average journey time to a health facility is 74 minutes.

-2 out of 3 patients are attended to within sixty minutes.

-In the past year, most citizens have either been admitted to hospital.

-Most of those Ugandans who were admitted to a hospital in the past year ended up in government-aided facilities.

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