It was yet another beautiful day after heavy downfall, the question ringing in Simon’s mind was whether or not he could go for health center visits; imagining the road condition, from nowhere he found strength to move and visit health centers; it was 9:00am that he reached Amach health center IV in Northern Uganda, however much he reached this health center, he still felt something missing “Oh my what is this that I feel someone else needs me to listen to their cry than where I am” surprisingly when Simon reached the first
health center, there were over 20 patients waiting for health workers who were nowhere to be seen , now this was the time for him to take advantage of the situation, Simon went ahead to interact and sensitize community health users who constituted more of women compared to men, as Simon moved around with his camera to snap, the patients kept on wondering what this handsome young man was doing; some wondered “Is he a journalist, photographer or he just loves taking photographs?” “I always see him coming around this health center, it seems he is concerned with monitoring this facility” one of the patients responded. It was a moment they long awaited for!! Simon steps up and greets the gathering of patients who were by 10:15am 78 people in number yet no service delivery had started, Simon greeted “Ibutu wuno aberr” meaning “Good morning to you all”, “hey he even speaks our language”, one patient exclaimed. “I know most of you are wondering who I am and what I am here to do, well, my name is Simon Peter Ogwang, I work with Transparency International Uganda” Simon introduced himself. I am here to work together with you to monitor heath service delivery at this very health center, since you stay near this facility, “but how will you help us yet this health workers are always absent, they report late and even start working late, we have been here for nearly 2 and a half an hour and no health worker has attended to any of us, for sure we are disappointed!” said one of the patients. I believe now you realize the importance of working together to improve health services, we can make it because we are stronger as a community to send our voices out, demand that best practice is put in place, our rights are not violated. It’s amazing that health workers who were around ears dropping mobilized their other colleagues to begin working.
There is always a greater calling some ware; the next and final visit of the great day was Barr health center III; believe me you couldn’t stand what was on ground, challenges after challenges. Large number of patients seated waiting to be attended to, three health workers who were surprisingly supposed to be on duty were out attending workshop, other two in for meeting within at the health center “you tell us you are improving service delivery, as a matter of fact this happens here most time what can we do, we are helpless, our pain can’t wait, out patience dies off and our voices can never be hard” said Apio one of community women. Apio said that as a matter of fact they had many other responsibilities other than being at the health center without being attended to, “why can’t you leave some of the activities to your spouse?” Simon asked, “Hah don’t even ask about that, do you really think these men want to support us? They only know making babies, once we conceive, they are no ware to be seen!, when are pregnant, all antenatal care we ride bicycles to the health center instead of them carrying us ” Molly said “That is not our work to bring our wives to hospital, we have much bigger commitments” Ogwal responded. “Whether or not, less agree that family responsibilities are for everyone, let us all share responsibilities and ensure that we support women and children in accessing health service delivery, send and support women voices at local council community meetings; calling for all men to start supporting their spouse in health care accessibility, on the other hand we are going to provide you a toll free telephone line so that you will be calling and reporting challenges you are facing in health service delivery, therefore this demands us to work together for the good of our community ” this was a call from Simon; “oh yes I think this works out, our voices needs to be heard and we also need to actively participate in health center monitoring, together we can do this” Grace said. Indeed this was the greater calling, an interactive and participatory dialogue for change, feeling empowered and involved in health service monitoring.
Author: Ogwang Simon Peter
Project Coordinator; AT Transparency International Uganda
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org /+256 783256392