Hoima Regional Referral Hospital is among all the regional health facilities which the government plans to roll out surgery for diabetic retinopathy.
Currently, such eye blinding disease treatment is being offered by only Mulago National Referral Hospital and Mengo Hospital in Kampala and Ruharo Hospital in Mbarara district.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health, has said her ministry has forged a way to have surgeries conducted in all regional hospitals so as to reach the majority who are unable to move to limited hospitals.
“The Ministry of Health Eye Care Plan 2020-2025 proposes to extend these services to all regional referral hospitals through equipping and recruiting of specialists. Plans are underway to procure the much needed equipment and train at two people per year,” she made the announcement while presenting an action report on Parliament’s resolutions from May 2021 to May 2022 during plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker, Mr Thomas Tayebwa on Thursday.
The minister added that the ministry intensified sensitisation on the need for early screening for diabetes and high blood pressure related retinopathy with free services being offered at Mulago eye clinic and in all public health facilities beginning from the level of health centre 4 onwards.
On Parliament’s resolution for government to offer free drugs to Ugandans with diabetes and high blood pressure, Ms Aceng said government has allocated Shs3billion to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which include diabetes and high blood pressure.
As result, she said medicines for management of blood pressure and diabetes have been procured and distributed to all public facilities.
“Funding for NCDs started off catering for the supply of free insulin to all public hospitals. This was later incorporated into the wider NCD and Palliation budget line with the sub-components of hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell disease, mental health and oral morphine for palliation,” she said.
Cognisant of the increasing burden and mortality due to NCDs, Ms Aceng called on Ugandans to be keen on early screening especially for diabetes and high blood pressure which she said were the most common.
She decried the level of unawareness about NCDs, citing a recent study that indicated that 75 per cent of adults with hypertension were unaware of their status.