Challenges of accessing healthcare services among older persons in Uganda

  • Nankwanga Annet


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.


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