Friday, 12 December 2014

Citizens Demand For A Service Charter At Musyenene Health Centre III

Musyenene Health Centre in Nyakiyumbu Sub County, Kasese District is both a government and private supported facility. The government pays salaries for the 8 workers (6 males and 2 females) at the HC and also provides free malaria drugs while the other services like maternity, antenatal, Out Patient Department (OPD), In Patient Department (IPD), free HIV testing and counseling, Post natal, outreach and laboratory services.
Although they had been paying for the health services some community members did not understand why they were being charged for services at what they presumed to be a government establishment, and more so inconsistent charges; for instance birth mothers would be charged different amounts for delivery based on the sex of the baby. Mothers who delivered boys were charged more money than the ones that delivered baby girls. On the other hand some community members were unable to differentiate between the free and chargeable health services.

Tired of the ‘confusing charges’ the community raised the issue during their neighborhood Assembly held at St. Francis Catholic church, Kaghorwe parish. Among others the community demanded for an explanation on why they are charged for services at the HC and for clarity on the charges per service. As an action from the assembly, a team of six Neighborhood Assembly Executive members and KALI program staff met with the HC administration (Staff and health Unit Management Committee) to verify and also discuss the raised service delivery issues.

Responding to the raised issues, the HC In-charge Mr. Charles Bwambale explained that the government funds a small percentage of the HC’s budget which is sometimes unreliable and for the HC to survive it needs to raise money, saying this is the reason why the patients are charged. Mr. Charles said the HC’s charges are determined by the market price and are therefore not high as the community alleges.
He committed to developing and displaying a service charge at the HC and to attend the next Neighborhood Assembly to share/explain the HC’s operations to the community members.
A month after the meeting a service charge sheet was displayed at the HC. 

This has helped in creating clarity on the cost of services and in guiding the community to make informed decisions, that is, on where to go for medication- at Musyenene HC or Bwera Hospital whose services are free because it is a fully fledged government hospital. 
Apparently the community members are happy at the results of their demand.The HC’s response is a good gesture; it has enhanced transparency in their operations and will definitely strengthen their relations/collaboration with the community. Even though some of us can not afford some of the monies charged, we are impressed” thus remarked Baluku John a community member.