April: State of Health

Jubilee Project

Uganda Fact File on Health

Life expectancy at birth:

  • 2011 estimate Total population: 53.24 years
  • Male: 52.17 years
  • Female: 54.33 years

(world ranking 203 out of 221 countries compare with No.1 ranked country Monaco: 89.73 years)

  • Infant mortality rate
  • Male: 52.17 years
  • Female: 54.33 years

Health Expenditure: 8.2% of GDP

(ranked 51st in the world compare with Malta ranked No.1 with 16.5 % of GDP, 2009)

Physician density: 0.117 doctors/1,000 people or 1 doctor for every 10,000 people (2005)
(ranked 161 out of 192 countries compare with Norway ranked No. 10 with 1 doctors for every 250 people)

Hospital bed density: 0.39 beds/1,000 population (2009)
(ranked 177th out of 183 countries compare with Japan ranked No.1 with 13.75 beds/1,000 – 2008)
(CIA World Fact Book)

Uganda Household survey 2009/10:

  • Most common type of illness: Malaria/fever 52%
  • 41% of population use mosquito nets (57% urban, 41% rural)
  • Most of the people who fall sick seek medical help from clinics
  • 75% of sick people have to walk to the government health unit
  • Average distance to a government health unit was 4.6 km

HIV/AIDS: (CIA World Fact Book)

adult prevalence rate: 6.5% (2009 estimate)
(ranked 10th most affected nation out of 169 countries – compare with Turkey ranked 162 with prevalence rate of 0.10 ).

1.2 million people living with AIDS
(8th largest number in the world)

Children under the age of 5 underweight 16.4% – (2006 estimate)
(ranked 51 out of 120 countries, compare with Bosnia at 0.5% ranked 115)


Health – Ranked 104th
Uganda’s healthcare system is exceptionally poor, and Ugandans suffer high levels of malnourishment and disease

More than a fifth of the population is malnourished and almost 8% of newborn children die in their first year, placing Uganda among the bottom 20 countries on both variables. Ugandans have a life expectancy, when adjusted for healthy years lived, of only 42 years, placing the country 104th on this variable. Approximately two-thirds of Ugandan children receive vaccinations for infectious diseases and measles, which also places the country among the bottom 10 nations for these variables. The availability of hospital beds is very low: less than half a bed for every 1,000 people places Uganda fourth lowest of all countries, while less than half of the population has access to adequate sanitation facilities. In 2010, only six out of ten of people surveyed were content with the quality of their water, placing Uganda 90th on this variable. Uganda places 104th for the high number of deaths caused by respiratory disease, and 97th for the frequent incidence of tuberculosis. The government of Uganda spends approximately 85 USD (PPP) per capita on healthcare. Unsurprisingly, Ugandans do not feel healthy, according to a 2010 survey. Only 68% were satisfied with their level of personal health and 33% reported debilitating health problems, placing Uganda firmly in the bottom 20 countries for these variables. Indicators measuring mental health are slightly more positive: 32% of respondents had felt worried the previous day, meeting the global average, and 65% felt well-rested, placing Uganda 56th and 84th, respectively for these variables.

However, only 6 out of ten Ugandans were satisfied with the beauty of their environment, which placed the country 93rd on this variable.


“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing,
but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
Proverbs 17:22 (Amplified Bible)

The year of Jubilee provided a period of rest from labour. Every 7th year the people rested from working their fields and in the jubilee season they rested for two years: the 49th and 50th years. Imagine every one in the nation taking a vacation for 2 years! It is from here that the concept of taking a sabbatical leave came from.

Our lives are getting busier and faster every day; increasingly the place of rest is being sidelined. Work is not an end in and of itself. To be healthy, to be free from the problems of earning a livelihood, we must have rest to renew ourselves. By creating sleep, the seven week cycle with a day for rest and the season of jubilee, God created the possibility of renewal.

Studies show that people who get the appropriate amount of sleep on a regular basis tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who sleep too few hours each night. This underscores the importance of making rest a top priority.

This month we reflect and take stock of our state of health and well being.


  • Looking back, how has your personal and family state of health been?
  • Have you had hospitalizations, surgery, serious illnesses?
  • When were the years you felt most healthy and strong?
  • Were there some things you were doing then that you are not doing today?
  • What has been the level of exercise
  • Are you careful about diet?


Celebrate your current state of health. The ability to see, hear, smell, taste and feel are often taken for granted and so are the ability to walk or use our limbs. It is when we go through an experience that affects these abilities or meet someone who has lost them that we get a measure of gratitude for them. So focus on what you can do and not what you cannot do.


Choices we make today will determine the quality and quantity of life we have in the years ahead.

  • What lifestyle changes are you making in this Jubilee year?
  • What are the areas you would like to see improved in your health status?
  • What can you do to work towards the improvements you want to see?
  • Have you made an attempt to get mosquito nets for self and family?
  • Are you trying within your means to eat healthy and avoid food that are known to result in illness like fats and sugars?
  • Are you exercising adequately or living a sedentary, inactive lifestyle? (for example how much walking do you do on a daily basis)
  • Do you get enough rest every day or are you constantly accumulating a sleep debt?
  • Have you recently acted within your means to get a medical/dental checkup?

Jubilee Point of Action for the month:

  • Many action ideas can be generated by answering the contemplative questions.
  • If you are employed, find out if your organization grants a sabbatical leave every seven years and if you have not taken advantage of it, consider doing so for the purpose of rest, reflection and redirection.

For organizations:

  • Consider holding a health awareness day for your staff.
  • Medical institutions can hold a health education day for their communities.

For Spiritual Leaders:

  • Consider hold health seminars with topics on healthy living and taking good care of our bodies.
  • Medical members of your congregation can be encouraged to make presentations.

For Community Leaders:

Consider holding a Community Health Day during which you address the most pressing health matters in your community and invite professionals or experts to speak to the community.

Jubilee Prayer for the month:

Pray for healthier citizens, families, communities and thus a healthier nation in the next 50 years.

Jubilee Pledge for the month:

Within my means, I pledge to make healthy lifestyle choices, exercise and take good care of my body and help those that I am responsible for to do the same.


World Health Day is on Saturday, April 7, 2012 with the theme “Ageing and Health”.


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