Accessibility and availability of health care services to internally displaced persons, in Kitgum and Pader districts, northern Uganda


Introduction: During 1986-2009, an estimated 1.6 million persons were internally displaced from northern and eastern regions of Uganda due to civil war. We investigated accessibility to and availability of health care services for the internally displaced persons in Kitgum and Pader districts, northern Uganda. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in Kitgum and Pader districts, northern Uganda. We interviewed a total of 1383 respondents comprising 968 (70%) adults and 415 (30%) adolescents; 60% were females and 40% males, randomly selected from 35 of 67 (52.2%) internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. We held 27 key informant interviews and 52 focus group discussions. Data were entered in EPI data version 3.02 and analysed using SPSS version 12.00 statistical packages. Findings: Two thirds of the respondents 67.5% lived within 5 km distance of a health facility. The majority 62.9% of respondents mentioned that health related information was readily provided. 43.5% of health providers were always available in a health facility. A quarter 25.1% of health facilities always had drugs available, while 56.9% of the drugs prescribed were always available. Two thirds of the respondents 65.9% were satisfied with the health care services provided. The main reasons for the choice of a health facility were proximity 29.6%, provision of free treatment 24.7% and availability of drugs 17.2%. Main barriers to health care access were due to the lack of financial resources, trained personnel, and inadequate drugs and supplies in the health facilities. Conclusions and Recommendations: The majority of IDPs lived in close proximity to health facilities and obtained health care services from public health facilities. Access to health care was determined mainly by proximity and availability of free services and drugs. Although geographic accessibility to health services was high, lack of finances, information and decision power hindered access to health care services.

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Orach, C. , Aporomon, J. , Musoba, N. and Micheal, L. (2013) Accessibility and availability of health care services to internally displaced persons, in Kitgum and Pader districts, northern Uganda. Health, 5, 1433-1442. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.59195.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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