Challenges of accessing healthcare services among older persons in Uganda
Millions of older people across the globe are not getting the proper healthcare they need because governments and society are not aware of the problem. Failure to address older people's health needs today could develop into a costly problem tomorrow. This study was conducted to explore the challenges faced by older people in Uganda in accessing healthcare services, using a qualitative approach. The purpose of the study was to explore useful information that would inform decision-making in order to alleviate the situation of older persons in Uganda.
A purposively selected sample, with 64 respondents selected from urban areas and rural areas across the four regions of the country, was used. Data was collected using interviews and focus group discussions with the elderly. Other views were gathered from key informants who were knowledgeable on the phenomenon. Results were analysed using content analysis and the findings presented in narrative form.
The results showed that many older people are facing challenges with accessing healthcare facilities due to a number of barriers such as distance from health centres, cost of service, aloofness of health workers and their lack of respect for older people and absence of health workers at the health facilities, among other challenges. According to some key informants, government does not have any supportive programmes in place that could help meet the older people's health needs and minimise the challenges described above. As a result, older persons have resorted to using herbs, prayers to God, visiting private clinics and doctors and the use of over-the-counter medicines as alternative solutions to address their challenges.
Alun, W. & Tumwekwase, G. (2001) Multiple Impacts of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic on the aged in the rural Uganda.Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 16 (3): 221-236.
Baryayebwa , H. & Barugahare,W. (2002).Health Needs of Older Persons: An Assessment Report on Kamuli and Wakiso Districts.
Benyamini, Y., Blumstein, T., Lusky,A, & Modan, B. (2003).
Gender Differences in the Self-Rated Health-Mortality Association : Is It Poor Self-Rated Health that Predicts Mortality or Excellent Self-Rated Health that Predicts Survival? The Gerontologist 43 (3) 396-405.
Charlton, E.K. & Rose, D (2001). Nutrition Among Older Adults in Africa : The situation at the beginning of the millennium. Journal of Nutrition, 131:2424S-2428S.
Coe, R. D. (1985). Non-participation in the SSI Program by the Eligible Elderly. Southern Economic Journal,51(3):891-897.
Cumming,R (Undated).CommonHealth Problems among Older People. University of Sydney Australia.
Deeg, D.J.H.,& Bath, P.A.(2003). Self-Rated Health, Gender, and Mortality in Older Persons: Introduction to a special section. The Gerontologist 43 (3) 369-371.
Fitzpatrick,AJ.,.Eowe, N. R. Co.QP r•.§.L, Diane,I. G & Robbins, J.A (2004). Barriers to Healthcare Access Among the Elderly and Who perceive them.American Journal of Public Health, 94(10): 1788-1794.
Hanahan, D.,& Weinberg; R:A (2000).The Hallmarks of Cancer. Cell100 (1)57-70.
He!pAge International (2001). Elder abuse in the healthcare services in Kenya. Accessed on 11th January 2009 at http://www.helpage.org/ researchandpolicy.
Human Rights Education Assoc iates (HREA) (2003).The Rights of the Aged . Accessed on 6th January, 2009 at http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=162.
Idler, E. L. (2003). Discussion: Gender Differences in Self-Rated Health, in Mortality,and in the Relationship between the Two. The Gerontologist43 (3): 372-375.
Kanyamurwa, J. M.(2008).Gender, Nutrition and Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Mukono District, Makerere University: Good Governance & Gender Mainstreaming Implementation Committee (GGGMIC), Planning & Development Department (POD).
Kanyemibwa, E. (2007). Decentralised health services and the right to health of the children in Birere Sub County, lsingiro district, Makerere University: Unpublished M.A.Dissertation.
Knodel, J.E. (2008). "Poverty and the Impact of AIDS on Older Persons:Evidence from Cambodia and Thailand." Economic Development and Cultural Change,56(2):441-475.DOl.
Kollapan, J. (2008). The Rights of Older People - African Perspective. November, 2008.
Krulwich,R. (2006).Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure? All Things Considered, Accessed on 12th December 2008 at http :1/ww w .n p r . o rglte m pIa te s/story/st ory. php?storyld=5652676.
Livingstone ,J. (2003). Reconfiguring OldAge: Elderly women and concerns over care in south eastern Botswana. Medical Anthropology , 22(3) : 205-231 . 001: 10 .1080/
Mapule-Ramashala ,F. (2008). Living arrangements, poverty, and the health of older persons inAfrica, accessed on 7th January 2009 at
http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/bulletin42 _43/ ramashala.pdf .
McGarry, K. (1996). Factors determining participation of the elderly in Supplementary Security Income. The Journal of Human Resources, 31(2):331-358, accessed on 25th March 2008 atwww.jstor.org .
Najjumba-Mulindwa, I. (2004). Chronic poverty among the elderly in Uganda: Perceptions , experiences and policy issues. Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics Makerere University.Accessed on 25thApril2007 at .
Ntale-Lwanga, C. & Kimberley, M. (2003). The face of chronic poverty in Uganda as seen by the poor themselves . Chronic Poverty Research Centre- Uganda and Development ResearchTraining.
Oloka-Onyango, J. (2009). Age-based Discrimination and the Rights of the Elderly in Uganda: Towards a new paradigm. ESR Review Economic and Social Rights in South Africa , 10 (1):11-14.
Oppong, C. (2006). Familial Roles and Social Transformations : Older men and women in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research on Ageing inAfrica ,28(6): 654-668.
Paola, S. T. (2003). Physiological Basis of Ageing and Geriatrics, Informal Health Care, accessed on 12th December 2008 at http :1/ www . en .wi k iped i a .org/wi ki/S peel a I: Booksources/0849309484 .
Silva-Smith, A. L., Theune, W. T. & Spaid, P.E. (2007). Primary support persons for individuals who are visually impaired: Who are they and the support they provide. Journal of Visual Impairments & Blindness, 113-118. Rehabilitation Research and Development centre (151R),Atlanta VA Medical Centre.
The republic of Uganda (1995). The Constitution of Uganda.
United Nations (2002a). World Demographic Trends ,Accessed on 1OthJanuary 2009 at http://www.un.org.
United Nations (2002b). Report of the Second World Assembly on Ageing. Madrid, 8-12Aprii2002.A?CO NF.197/9.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.