How a Digestive & Liver Disease Care Centre Will Help West Nile Community

Philliph Olum, a fisherman and resident of Pakwach Town Council in Pakwach District was diagnosed with Bilharzia in January this year upon vomiting blood recurrently.

He immediately resorted to consuming a locally made concoction laced with many herbs. All didn’t work.

Olum said, ” At first thought, I was bewitched when I was vomiting blood continuously but relatives rushed me to Pakwach Health Centre IV where I was diagnosed with Bilharzia”.

He said, ” I stayed for hours before medical workers could attend to me at the facility yet my condition was getting worse”.

Olum said he was later attended to and thanked God he survived and could tell the testimonies of his life to the world.

Olum had joined hundreds of the community of Pakwach District who gathered to witness the launch of a digestive and liver disease care centre at Pakwach district at Pajobi North cell, in Pakwach Town Council last week.

Limited finance results in fewer people suffering from digestive and liver complications like Olum seeking help in Pakwach District. Besides, People fear travelling long distances coupled with travel costs amongst other challenges notwithstanding.

The facility though private, has come as a lifesaver for not only the fishing community but the entire West Nile and northern region population, which has been for long grappling with digestive and liver disease complications remotely.

Upon its launch, hundreds with a string of complications also gathered to seek services upon struggling to get assistance from Pakwach Health Center IV.

The Health facility’s proprietor Ponsiano Ocama, A professor of medicine at Makerere University says apart from bringing the services nearer to West Nile and Northern Uganda Communities, cases of Bilharzia have been high in Pakwach District for years hoping that the facility will address it.

” When I look at my speciality, I deal a lot with Bilharzia, if you look at the health facility that we have here, about 1-3 patients are coming in the health facility vomiting blood every week and sometimes we lose them because they come late and the vomit is recurrent. We are trying to see how we can work together with the District to see how we can control the problem” Ocama told the Whisper Eye News in an interview.

Pakwach which has a population of about 219, 000 people has 19 health facilities with Only 1 health center IV, which is always overwhelmed. The government health facility is also dilapidated and leaders are concerned about its state currently.

Fuathum Judith Kigezi, The Assistant District Health Officer in charge of environmental health in Pakwach District, promised to work hand in hand with the owners of the new private facility that she believes will relieve the overwhelmed Pakwach Health Center IV.

Mental Health and specialized care are amongst some of the other services that the facility offers to the community.

The Director of DILD Joshephin Ocama, a clinical psychologist, stressed the importance of offering services like mental care that many people tend to ignore.

“It’s a very necessary service, many times people move to different health facilities yet they are not sick but are psychologically disturbed, we need to embrace mental and specialized care,” Ocama said.

The Prime Minister of Kaal Ker Kwaru Jonam Jelasius Wathum commended Professor Ponsiano Ocama of Makerere University for bringing the digestive and liver care centre home to save the life of the community grappling with rampant cases of Bilharzia.

He also pledged the Jonam Cultural Institution’s support towards the facility.

” We encourage our sons and daughters who are working elsewhere to think about home. Bring us services just like the professor has done but above all, let’s embrace education. We as ker Kwaru Jonam are pledging our maximum support toward this facility that has come at the right time”. Wathum explained.

Paediatric formulations have faced added challenges because of the limited participation in activities like clinical trials and the absence of dosing and treatments.

The LCV chairperson of Pakwach District Omito Robert Steen has commended the initiative saying it will help the community a lot given the dilapidated condition of Pakwach Health Center IV, which is incapacitated to manage many complications.

He added that many of the fishing community grapples with rampant Bilharzia complications putting their life at risk.