Dire Health Situation in Rhino Camp, Arua

On October 7th, News Hapa carried a story (http://www.news-hapa.com/story/108/) about the worrying rise of Malaria cases in Rhino Camp, Arua district. It seems malaria is not the only worry for the residents and health workers of that area. Rhino Camp Health Center IV, which is the biggest health center there, not only lacks doctors but also a mortuary, and the technology to test for typhoid. The lack of a mortuary means that residents have to pick bodies of their loved ones within 24 hours of their death. “Luckily, I have never heard of a situation where a body remains unclaimed,” says Joseph Adriko, a resident. Another resident, Arima Zubair, tells News Hapa that diagnosis of typhoid at the health center is a hit and miss game.

According to Dr. Anguzu Patrick, the District Health Officer, building a mortuary for the health center is something that is long overdue. “It’s just that we don’t have funds, so there is no mortuary,” he says. He adds that at health center IV level, only a preliminary screening can be done for typhoid, and this is a non-confirmatory test. “A more reliable diagnosis can be done at hospital level, where blood cultures are used to detect typhoid,” he says. This means that residents of Rhino Camp need to go to Arua Regional Referral Hospital if typhoid is suspected.

As for the lack of doctors, Dr. Anguzu says that while there is expected to be at least one doctor at HC IV level, there have been no recent applications received from doctors to work in the area. The last time a doctor was recruited for the health center, he only worked for a few weeks and disappeared thereafter. This leaves only clinical officers at hand, and even those are not enough to cater for the people of Rhino Camp.

- Oct. 16, 2013
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