Kigezi Sub-region has garnered attention for its notable position as the second-largest consumer and abuser of alcohol after Kampala, as per the latest assessment conducted by the Ministry of Health.
This is according to statistics from the Ministry of Health in the 4th Quarter of the FY 2022/2023, the regional distribution of OPD attendance due to Alcohol use disorder per 100,000 population shows that 42.1 people in Kampala are drunkards followed by Kigezi Sub-region with 24.4.
56.4 people in Kampala use Substances and Kigezi Sub-region follows with only 7.3 drug users.
This revelation emerged from insights shared by Dr. Patrick Tusiime, the Commissioner of the Department of Communicable Diseases, Prevention, and Control within the Ministry of Health during the Kigezi Regional Joint Review Mission (JRM), held at the National Teachers College in Kabale Municipality.
The JRM convened under the theme “Invigorating Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; My Role, Your Role, Our Roles”.
Representing Hon. Anifa Kawooya Bangirana, the State Minister for Health responsible for General Duties, Dr. Tusiime occupied the role of the esteemed chief guest at the event.
Dr. Tusiime’s insights highlighted a concerning trend: from the months spanning April to June of the current year, instances of alcohol consumption and its associated abuses have noticeably contributed to a surge in mental health problems among patients frequenting diverse health facilities.
Notably, the Kigezi Sub-region also stands at the forefront of the prevalence of high blood pressure, among other non-communicable diseases.
Out of 100,000 populations who went to health facilities, 1841.6 had Diabetes, 2667.8 had Hypertension, 64.6 had Cancer of the prostate 159.5 people suffered from Bipolar Disorder, 6.8 had Cancer of the Breasts, 1.4 had Cancer of the Cervical, 32.7 had unipolar disorder.
Dr. Tusiime’s address reverberated with a plea for immediate, concerted action from local communities to confront the looming challenge of non-communicable diseases, which are, by their nature, largely preventable.
Transitioning to Dr. Nyeko John Philbert, the Director of the Kabale Regional Referral Hospital, it becomes evident that the mental health department is grappling with a surge of patients burdened by substance-related issues.
Dr. Nyeko underscored the collective responsibility individuals hold for their well-being, emphasizing that forsaking harmful substances can avert needless suffering.
Dr. Nyeko further accentuated the paramount importance of widespread vaccination against preventable diseases.
He added that the inception of the Joint Review Mission is aimed to not only emphasize the vital role health workers play but also to encourage active participation from all corners of society to prevent overwhelming health workers while fostering a holistic societal approach to healthcare engagement.