Uganda: Over half of the inhabitants in some of the fishing villages infected by HIV/AIDS




Just over 50% of the inhabitants in some of the fishing villages in Ssese islands in Uganda are infected by HIV/AIDS and in general, the proportion of infected keeps rising, according to Dr. Hillary Mitakalamire, who manages health care in the district office in Buggala Island. The migrants´ way of life, moving from one place to the other, is the main reason for the spreading of HIV/AIDS. Because of the geographical position and transportation difficulties only few of the infected are receiving medical treatment, only one out of every ten.

Overall, health care in the islands is unsatisfactory, there is shortage of doctors and other health care personnel and only seven health centres are operating in the 64 inhabited islands.
Hillary says that it is difficult to get doctors to work in remote island communities like Kalangala, for longer than few months at a time. Even in the biggest island, in which there are surgical facilities, there are no doctors to perform the surgeries. Women who are about to give birth and need caesareans must take the ferry up to the mainland which takes a minimum of three hours. “Most often that is too late”, Hillary says.

A part of ICEIDA´s support the Kalangala District Development Plan relates to health care and Dr. Hillary says that the support is invaluable. In many villages, health teams have received training and attend to educating the communities on common diseases. ICEIDA also pays for the boat and the petrol for health care team visits to many of the more remote island communities. The health centres have also received electricity (solar panels) and can therefore operate 24 hours if necessary. ICIEDA has also secured the health centres with clean water and for all this important support Dr. Hillary is extremely thankful. “One can definitely notice development in health care in the islands, but the steps forward are both small and few,” he says.