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Op-Ed: We Are Not Ready For The 21st Century In Terms Of Health


A responsible government would do everything possible to save the life of the Speaker. But a responsible Government would not first allow lies that the speaker was okay and only went abroad to spend time with his children or change of, when in fact he was not well.

But is it really true that after admitting that the illhealth of the Speaker could not be hidden from public view anymore than it had been, government commit a whole plane, which carries 250 people, to the purpose of carrying one person – the Speaker – to a hospital abroad?

Wouldn’t a responsible government – power for 36 years – have taken health more seriously and ensured that there is a hospital in Uganda capable of handling the health issues of high profile people who need specialised health care?

The Uganda taxpayer is having to spend a fortune on individual high profile people so that they can be treated in countries, which care about the health of their people and have spent taxpayers’ money on ensuring that medical facilities are adequate for everyone – big and small.

Millions of Ugandans have turned to local medicine from the diminishing bushes and forests to meet their health security. They are now exposed to quack traditional medicine people, some of whom engage in evil acts they attach to treatment of the sick. There no medicines in the available medical facilities. Or else there are no medical personnel, including doctors.

The available ones are paid peanuts, and many spend more time in private clinics and private hospitals where they earn humanising income compared to what government pays them.

As if this is not enough government cannot deploy the swelling number of medical graduates in public Hospital s and dispensaries, but can pay millions of dollars to ferry select individuals to medical facilities abroad. In the meantime Government is plotting to export doctors to foreign countries to work there, in total disregard for the citizens of Uganda who need good health to produce.

Ill-health is one reason productivity of the country has plummeted so much that Government has no choice but to be trapped in the foreign aid web, which is robbery from the poor to enrich the already rich.

It is now loans upon loans as people turn away from productivity because of ill-health and other factors such as dehumanizing prices for what they produce, and the current agricultural policies and programmes, which target individuals rather than communities to generate a few rich individuals and many poor communities.

It is sad that government is spending millions on the well off to treat diseases that have to do more with poor feeding (overfeeding) and/or overconsumption without producing. The millions of Ugandans who have traditionally produced to make Uganda are likely to continue fending for themselves health wise, as Government turns it’s attention to individual rich.

Malaria remains the greatest killer of Ugandans, especially children, but there is little evidence that government has adequately strategized to combat it. Instead attention now is on the less dangerous Covid 19, which has yet to kill children, if it ever will.

While some people keep asking me to name 10 successful projects and 10 successful programmes of government during the reign of NRM, others draw my attention to the scam of the specialized Lubowa Hospital project in 2019. This was a UGX trillion project. Money was released to an Italian woman with a lot of hype.

We were told Ugandans would now be treated at home instead of abroad. The money went, there is no such hospital and high profile people are streaming to foreign hospitals at great expense to the taxpayer.

For a responsible government, care for citizens is seen in the amount of time, energy and money it allocated to social well-being and social development for all. Not in consumption.

Yet Uganda under NRM rule continues to shift more and more to consumption, away from production. And diseases associated with overconsumption are the diseases of the affluent. They are expensive to treat. It would be best if they are treated locally, but we have not developed the capacity to treat them.

Because we are doing almost nothing to treat diseases associated with over consumption of the affluent locally, it is likely Government will continue to send the affluent abroad for treatment, at exorbitant cost to the taxpayers.

For God and My Country.

The Writer is a Ugandan Scientist and Environmentalist

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