“…our commitment to this vision remains unwavering. We pledge to continue working closely with the Ministry of Health, standing shoulder to shoulder as partners, to realize the goal of health system strengthening and equitable access to exceptional healthcare services for all Ugandans”, Her Excellence Ms. Jung-Eun LEE, reaffirming the Republic of Korea’s commitment to complementing Government of Uganda efforts towards health system strengthening.
In 2006, the Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) emerged as a beacon of humanitarianism, driven by the goal of global cooperation through healthcare support to developing nations, including North Korea, overseas Koreans, and foreign workers in South Korea. Over the past several years, the Republic of Korea, in partnership with Uganda’s Ministry of Health, has invested over USD 20 million through KOFIH, solidifying commitment to various health system strengthening projects in Uganda. These initiatives have primarily focused on emergency medical services (EMS), the empowerment of community health workers (CHWs), the prevention and management of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and capacity building for health workers in Uganda, all with the aim of bettering the lives of Ugandans.
This partnership has already achieved numerous successes, including the capacity building of over 3,500 health workers. Infrastructure developments such as the establishment of the EMS Regional Skills/Simulation Lab, refurbishment and equipping of the accident and emergency unit, call and dispatch center, and the X-ray Room at Masaka RRH have also been completed. Additionally, significant advancements have been made at Butenga HCIV, where a new OPD/Emergency Block, surgical ward, operating theater, maternity ward, ambulance shelter, and fence have been constructed. In Bukomansimbi District, one laboratory was renovated at Bigasa HCIII, and two were constructed and equipped at Kitanda HCIII and Kigangazi HCII.
Moreover, the EMS and TB projects have resulted in the procurement of over 300 emergency and laboratory equipment for healthcare facilities in the greater Masaka region and the National TB Reference Laboratory (NTRL), enhancing healthcare service delivery. Under the Community Health Workers Project, Village Health Teams (VHTs) in the greater Masaka region have received 200 bicycles and 30 motorbikes. By 2025, the project aims to have equipped over 1,000 VHTs in the region with bicycles, motorbikes, and essential tools, knowledge, and skills to optimize their performance. Further, the indicator performance data within the EMS project underscores its success, revealing substantial enhancements in healthcare access, quality, and overall effectiveness. The reduction in referrals out in Butenga HCIV and Masaka RRH signifies the growing self-sufficiency of these sites in delivering emergency healthcare services, a testament to their progress.
On Tuesday September 12, 2023, a momentous event marked the official handover of various critical items, symbolizing the unwavering commitment and friendship between the Republic of Korea, represented by KOFIH, and the Government of Uganda, represented by the Ministry of Health. This partnership, which commenced in 2017, has yielded remarkable results that promise improved health and well-being for Ugandans.
Key highlights of the handover included the refurbished and expanded Maternity Ward at Butenga HCIV, poised to enhance maternal and child healthcare in Bukomansimbi district. Additionally, 968 medical and non-medical Village Health Team (VHT) Kits were delivered to VHTs in Masaka City, Masaka, and Bukomansimbi Districts, empowering the cadre in providing essential healthcare services for disease prevention and management. Furthermore, with the allocation of two brand new Toyota Hilux Double Cabin trucks to Masaka and Bukomansimbi Districts, along with two Land Cruiser Station Wagons for the Ministry of Health, it is hoped that there will be significant improvement in transportation and logistics, ensuring the efficient achievement of the community health workers’ project goals.
Additionally, the two fully-equipped ambulances allocated to Ntutsi HCIV and Gombe Hospital were expected to bolster the capacity of the health facilities in providing faster and more accurate diagnostics and lifesaving emergency services.
The Permanent Secretary (PS), Ministry of Health (MoH), Dr. Atwine Diana expressed hope that the glucometers, weighing scales, and BP machines delivered to VHTs would enable them to promptly detect non-communicable diseases such as obesity and hypertension in the community before they become more challenging to treat. She also called on the project sites that had received the vehicles, especially the ambulances, to ensure that they are only used for health-related matters.
The Deputy Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Uganda, Her Excellence Ms. Jung-Eun LEE, reaffirmed Korea’s unwavering commitment to supporting Uganda’s health systems strengthening efforts, “…our commitment to this vision remains unwavering. We pledge to continue working closely with the Ministry of Health, standing shoulder to shoulder as partners, to realize the goal of health system strengthening and equitable access to exceptional healthcare services for all Ugandans”, she remarked. The commitment, channeled through KOFIH and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, underscores the mutual goal of ensuring equitable access to exceptional healthcare services for all Ugandans.
The momentous handover ceremony represented a monumental milestone in the journey of the Republic of Korea, through KOFIH, and the Ministry of Health towards enhancing access to high-quality healthcare services in underserved Ugandan communities. This collaborative effort reflects a shared vision of a healthier, more prosperous Uganda, where every citizen can access healthcare without hindrance.