ARUA. The members of Uganda Medical Association (UMA) have pledged their commitment to always serve Ugandans but urged government to consider improving their working conditions.

The UMA members said if given the required working environment, Uganda would boost the best physicians and specialists across the African continent.

Speaking during a meeting at Arua referral hospital board room on Tuesday, Dr. Ekwaro Obuku, the UMA President referred to health practitioners as patriots.

“I urge you people to praise yourselves for the good work of being between God and death. This is a privilege that should make us proud to serve humanity and no amount of salary can be satisfying in this case,” Obuku said.

“We want to solve the problem of “medical tourism” where patients from up country go to Mulago but cannot get the services they want due to too much work on the specialists yet such people do not have where to stay in Kampala and end up coming back without being attended to,” Dr. Obuku added.

Obuku was speaking to a team of health specialists and other medical practitioners under UMA.

The team numbering to over 100 was in the West Nile region to conduct a maiden multi-disciplinary health camp intended to lift the burden of care the region has gone through due to the influx of refugee as well as the dismal number of specialists.

Obuku thanked the national medical stores (NMS) and the ministry of health for responding to the need for supplies during the camp.

Dr. Richard Idro, a pediatrician consultant from Mulago national referral hospital and one of the chief organizers of the camp said the team was spread across the districts of Adjumani, Moyo, Maracha, Yumbe with Arua as the center.

The team was also joined by members of the heart institute to tackle heart related complications.

Dr. Wilson Nyakojo, a specialist from Mulago heart institute said the state of the art theater has enabled them to carryout both open and closed heart operations that were never the case in Uganda before.

Nyakonjo said the institute’s plan is now to create regional centers. He appealed to the administration of Arua regional referral hospital to send some of their staff for further specialized training before a branch can be opened in the region.

Dr. Alex AdakuDr. Alex Adaku, Arua hospital director while addressing the meeting on Tuesday. PHOTO BY RIMILIAH AMANDU)

Dr. Alex Adaku, the Arua regional referral hospital director said the camp that is intended to benefit over 10,000 people in the five days across the region would take the burden of care on the nine specialists who have been serving the 4.5 million population of the region including refugees.

“You rightly chose West Nile for this camp because besides the 4.5 million people, we have others coming from across the borders to get services here but are not necessarily refugees. Our biggest challenge is Orthopedics where there is so much need but no specialists,” Dr. Adaku said.

He also pointed out another area in desperate need of specialists as being the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department where he said patients in need of services have often been referred mainly to Mulago.

Dr. William Anzo, the regional head of UMA appealed to media organizations to champion the campaign on better health seeking behavior, saying the media was much leisure driven yet the population is dying of health related issues.

Mrs. Jane Aliru, one of the people who benefited from the camp at Arua regional referral hospital thanked the doctors for the great service.

“The burden has always been on the few doctors in Arua but if this camp is organized annually, our situation will improve,” she said

The experts were drawn among others from the fields of orthopedics, neurology, kidney, radiology in addition to the members of the cancer institute.

The five-day camp is set to end on Friday June 15, 2018 with UMA setting sights on other needy regions after West Nile.

members of UMAThe members of UMA pose for a group photo after their meeting on Tuesday. PHOTO BY RIMILIAH AMANDU)