The pandemic couldn’t come at a worse time in the fight against HIV, Maternal deaths, and corruption

The COVID-19 Pandemic sparks concerns about Health system in Uganda; The pandemic that has upended life in Uganda could lead to increased Maternal deaths, HIV rates as all public health and other government resources are shifted to the coronavirus response

Access to maternal health care services and other services like Family planning/contraceptives, HIV testing are dwindling as local health departments shuffle staff to respond to COVID19 and private clinics reduce working hours and all health outreach programs are cancelled.

We all have seen a complete disruption to the Health sector services and some of the immediate issues like Maternal, HIV prevention unit, Sexual reproductive health service has been not given much attention, and we are going to experience higher Maternal deaths, HIV rates and unplanned pregnancies as a result of the COVID19

As the Ministry of Health deals with the COVID19 pandemic, so many of the doctors, nurses, specialists who are working at local health centers helping pregnant mothers, citizens, young people living with HIV are being reassigned to the COVID19 response and leaving other critical services at stake.

These specialists, Doctors, Nurses would contact Pregnant mothers for antenatal, people who have tested positive for HIV, make sure they are getting treatment and interview them confidentially about who they have had sexual contact with to ensure those individuals also get testing

A few weeks back, the Ministry of Health announced job opportunities for specialists, Doctors who are ready to be redeployed to the COVID19 response.

The question remains; where does that leave other patients? It leaves them without access to services, leaves some of them untreated

The pandemic couldn’t come at a worse time in the fight against HIV, Maternal deaths, corruption, unplanned pregnancies. Should we blame the President for his directives or we let it go and leave other patients to die?

Social distancing is required to slow the spread of COVID-19 and it is making it difficult for health centers to continue prevention efforts

Everyone should be really concerned that we are going to see an increase in Maternal deaths HIV rates because of the decrease in the prevention activities being conducted by the health centers plus other NGOs that have been sensitizing the communities

The Ministry of Health is much focused on the COVID-19 response, limiting the work the local health centers can do and some local health centers have already reported increase in maternal deaths.

The Ministry of Health needs to work on these injustices before its too late and as citizens don’t forget to wash your hands.

Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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