Residents of Jinja District have accused health workers of poor service delivery, which is driving them to seek treatment in shrines and uncertified herbal medicine shops. They allege that health workers extort money and use derogatory language, pushing them away from government health facilities. 

These concerns were raised during a public baraza organized by officials from the State House Health Monitoring Unit (HMU) at Buwenge Health Center IV in Buwenge Town Council, Jinja District. The baraza aimed to gather public views on improving health systems in the district. 

Mohammed Masulubu, a resident of Kayaka Zone, reported that many women in the community are turning to traditional birth attendants to avoid exorbitant fees charged during normal delivery. He suggested that the Ministry of Health and Jinja District officials should consider transferring long-serving health workers to improve efficiency.   

Rodgers Mugulusi, a resident of Swanu Ward, complained that health workers often demean patients by shouting at them publicly, which undermines their dignity and discourages them from seeking health services from government facilities. He also mentioned that Buwenge General Hospital offers scan services for pregnant women, but those who cannot afford the fee of 10,000-15,000 Shillings are often told the scanning machine is non-functional.

Jimmy Ayogela, a village health team member from Kalintusi Ward, expressed concern over the increasing number of cesarean section recommendations, for which mothers are required to pay between 200,000-500,000 Shillings. Mothers unable to pay these fees often resort to traditional birth attendants, where unsafe delivery practices are common.

Buwenge General Hospital’s Medical Superintendent, Aggrey Bameka, denied allegations of extortion. He stated that most health facilities in Jinja District have signposts with contacts for reporting corruption. He acknowledged that 5-15% of mothers undergo C-sections, with rising numbers due to the reluctance to utilize antenatal services, leading to complications. 

Bameka assured that a credible board led by a gynecologist would assess mothers before recommending C-sections.   Elijah Ssemaganda, Deputy Head of Monitoring at HMU, noted that their findings revealed health workers training non-staff to prescribe medicines, leading to irrational dispensation. He confirmed complaints of extortion and advised victims to report these cases promptly for prosecution instead of remaining silent.

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