There are many health challenges affecting communities in Uganda. These range from access to essential medicines, access to information, lack of enough health facilities and the few existing ones are now well equipped to the required standards. The following are our current key interventions to support the sector in eastern part of Uganda.
The Jigger projects
Jigger/Tungiasis or sand flea disease is caused by female Tunga penetrans (Linnaeus, 1758) and Tunga trimamillata is an infection of the skin. The flea penetrates at periungual, interdigital or websites, under toenails or in grooves between toes and the ball of the foot, causing a mild inflammation. Infection can result in abscess formation, deformity and loss of digits. Tetanus is a potentially fatal complication of tungiasis. For over 10 years, the disease has affected Mayuge district in eastern Uganda where it has killed many people especially children and elderly. The disease has continued to affect families despite governments effort to prevent it.
To support the fight against the disease, GPSU has supported families with basic treatment, advocacy for government intervention, rehabilitation for victims and reintegration process into their families and communities. The organisation has so far been able to support 2,700 families in Mayuge district eastern Uganda with focus to expand to other districts of the region where the disease has affected a significant number of people especially children, the elderly, and persons with disability.
Although progress has been made in improving the status in WASH, challenges in developing technologies for water stressed areas, financing, and capacity for providing water for production and poor community management of the existing facilities are still limited. The national statistics put average of 65% access to safe water, this is not a representation of the actual situation on ground as many people still fetch water from traditional unprotected water sources.
Access to appropriate sanitation services remains below the national average. Limited access to water and sanitation for both domestic use and animals has increased the vulnerability of communities to incidences of water borne related diseases especially cholera and diarrhoea. Uncertainty in income levels also affects their overall social and economic productivity and ability to improve their livelihoods. Despite an increment in household latrine coverage, there are still many communities in the country that still defecate in the open. The practice of hand washing with soap after latrine usage in the rural areas is as low as 27%. GPSU WASH project is targeting extension of these services to urban poor and rural communities in the eastern apart of the country.
Menstrual health in schools
Management of menstruation can present substantial challenges to girls in low-income settings. In preparation for a menstrual hygiene intervention to reduce school absenteeism in Uganda, GPSU has identified the following measures as a remedy to girl’s child drop out of schools. These include the interventions. Teaching Adolescent girls on how to make & use reusable sanitary towels, Construction of toilet facilities with changing rooms for girls in schools to improve on Sanitation, Purchase and install water tanks in target schools to improve water supply and sanitation for the benefit of girls, carry out counselling sessions in schools on key topics including HIV Aids and drug abuse and facilitate school motivational events.
SRH Information for youth
Despite Government commitments, Women and girls in Uganda continue to face difficulties in accessing SRH services. GPSU is therefore tremendously contributing to government effort through; Maternal and Reproductive Health care services and commodities, Sexual and Gender based Violence against women and girls and Discrimination and stigma against Women Living with HIV and AIDS.