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December 10, 2008
Free healthcare but long lines in Uganda

In Uganda’s state hospitals and clinics, the government provides free treatment and medicine — but supplies of both doctors and drugs are short.

Hospitals receive some help from volunteer organizations like Doctors Without Borders that provide medical staff, but low salaries and long hours deter many Ugandan doctors from service.

Worldfocus special correspondent Martin Seemungal travels to a small hospital in northern Uganda where patients come by the hundreds and wait for hours to receive treatment from a handful of dedicated caregivers.

Below, bloggers write from Uganda about their experiences on the ground.

Blogger “Arie” describes walking through a crowded Ugandan hospital, writing that the “Western nightmare stereotypes about hospitals here just aren’t true” and the facility is sanitary, despite poor resources and overcrowding.

Blogger “Helen” of the University of North Carolina Health Care program reports on her meeting with Ugandan Minister of Health Stephen Mallinga, in which they discussed the country’s struggles to address the health needs of rural areas.

A blogger at “Just in Uganda” writes that shortages of tuberculosis medication and anti-malarial drugs are disappointing in a country that has made such gains and modernized.

American doctors Scott and Jennifer Myhre write from rural Bundibugyo, Uganda, to remember their friend, Doctor Jonah Kule, who died a year ago during an outbreak of Ebola.




HI! i am Mr. luemba i am experiencing the problem of psychosomatic: i am so discriminated by the way i look, would you please help me by writing me prescription about psychosomatic sickness.


Your correspondent should have added that Ugandan doctors and other healthcare workers have migrated to “greener pastures” in the West. And Uganda’s woes illustrate a common problem in much of Africa.

But the problem goes beyond low pay and brain drain. In Kenya, for example, there’s also widespread corruption. Doctors in publicly funded hospitals steal medicines–many apparently donated by Western governments and charity groups–and sell them to private clinics (or in their own private clinics) and on the black market.

One answer to Wayne’s question (above) is: Tell your governments to stop poaching healthcare workers from the developing world. I’m not in the health-care industry, but Wayne’s concern is mine too. Wayne: write to me at so we can chat.


i am a canadian physician. how can i help the rural healthcare needs of these people.

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