BY DOREEN KAJERU
The Department of Public Health has reached out to the community of Buvuma District with the aim of establishing partnerships to help out in community sensitization and offer assistance for livelihoods.
The goal is to design programmes that will improve the communities’ way of life through betterhealth and sanitation and later education, after establishing the baseline requirements.
The programme, conducted together with Mukono Diocese, will try and iron out the different problems that were raised during the outreach.
Dr Ekiria Kikule, the Head of Department of Public Health, led the team which met Community leaders and provided them an opportunity to point out the various challenges that they are facing before possible solutions were suggested. The representative of the Resident District Commissioner, Mr David Amanda, said that the UCU team was highly welcome whenever ready to start with the operationalization of the possible solutions to the identified problems.
“The district needs this kind of partnership to handle various challenges,” he said
The representative of the District Police Commander, Mr Alexander Nuwagaba said that there is a very high rate of school dropout especially by the girls aged 15 and above; defilement; very poor fishing methods; very low standards of living, and early marriages.
“As a result, the level of education attained among the community is very lowwith the highest being O’ Level,” Mr Nuwagaba said.
The leaders say that the level of education is sub-standard; the pupils study in very poorly constructed structures some of which are being eaten away by termites. The health and sanitation is so dire that some villages do not have lavatories; “business” is done on the shores and behind rocks and stones.
Witchcraft and promiscuity are further unravelling the livelihood of the people in the community. According to the DPC’s office, the rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence was 13.5% in 2015, among a small population of 100,000 people.
In the health and sanitation sector, the conditions are lamentable. One doctor is allocated to the whole district, and the staffing levels at health centres are low, delaying the process of medical services delivery.
In spite of the community being surrounded by a big water body, access to clean and safe water is limited. The residents wash clothes, defecate, bathe and even dispose of rubbish into the lake, making the water unhygienic.
The Town Clerk, Mr Simon Kiyubaalso said that there is difficulty in appreciating the need to have certain facilities like latrines and toilets in some areas of the district.
In one typical fishing village, Lukale 1, residents have been traumatized by land grabbers that come under the guise of great companies and organizations.Interacting with them takes a series of transparency interview questions to clearly assess the intentions one has towards their community.
Faced with a history of fraudsters, the village leaders asked the UCU team whether they were the most problem stricken community that needed intervention. After a two-hour interaction of clearing doubt and establishing intentions, questions of when and how the intervention programme will run were fielded.
The team emphasized that their main concern was to prevent diseases and their re-occurrence, diet management, provision of clean and safe water, and addressing hygiene and sanitation challenges.
Plans to acquire land and make an established structure were also discussed with the respective leaders. This would enable UCU put its acquired knowledge into practice as it would greatly facilitate students’ translation of theory into practice.
The DEO and CAO representative, Mr Hussein Bugembe, said that documentation of the proposed plan of operation was required to ensure transparency and efficiency of the programme.
Buvuma District, made up of 52 islands, nine sub-counties and 213 villages, is a hard-to-reach area, has limited access to electronic communication, very limited services and is without electrification.