I returned home last night after two weeks in South Africa where I had sought medical treatment. I had been advised by doctors here to seek a comprehensive medical review and a second opinion on my condition from a more superior facility. Much as am required to go back for review, I wish to report that I have registered tremendous improvement.
Together with my family, we wish to express our sincere and most heartfelt gratitude to all who extended moral, material financial and all nature of support extended to us in this regard.
I a special way I am indebtedly thankful to the Rt Hon Speaker of Parliament for availing her prerogative and personal effort towards ensuring that I undergo proper treatment for my condition. I am immensely grateful to the Clerk to Parliament, the Leader of Opposition, fellow Members of Parliament and recognize in a special way the medical staff at Mukono Church of Uganda Hospital and International Medical Center Kampala where I have received treatment for along time for their selfless effort. Am greatly thankful to Dr. Col. Kizza Besigye who previously introduced me to the Ugandan South Africa based Doctors who also handled my medical visit this time.We have also received support from many friends for which we are thankful.
I am, however, inclined to draw the attention of all concerned to the bureaucratic process of getting cleared for treatment abroad by the Medical Board. The procedure, unfortunately, doesn’t cater for emergencies since it takes until the next board sitting to decide on a case. Besides, one’s Doctor is required to personally go, present and defend a case before the Board. The board actually takes little interest even for individuals to whom this facility is available by entitlement. With such delays, we may find ourselves having to fund funerals for deaths that could have otherwise been avoided. After all, facilitation for a funeral of a Member of Parliament is much more immediate than that for medical treatment abroad.
Much as I attempted to seek clearance by the board, no funds have been made available for my treatment. I have had to rely on the support of friends and personal initiative to get treated in South Africa. I have not used tax payers’ money much as medical treatment, if required is a right to any Member of Parliament. I wish to observe that particular individuals are cleared expeditiously, including for their relatives. For example while in hospital I found a collegue who had accompanied her niece dioginesed of malaria, interestingly she been cleared by the same Medical board for treatment abroad in a record time of just days. Isn’t it ironical that the same board was and is still reluctant to clear Nambooze who was a suspect case of pacreacious three weeks later? I have information that my honourable brother Kyanjo suffered similar delays when he fell sick sometime back.
I intend therefore to pursue my medical facilitation now that I have returned because its my entitlement and not a favour.
On serious note also, I call upon government to address by way of clearing the air on the rampant poison and toxicity scares across the nation. It is publically perceive that particular individuals are victims and targets of assassination and elimination by poisoning. This has prompted mistrust in the public even for medical facilities where some people fear to go for medical treatment just in case they get poisoned. H.E the President himself lent credence to this notion when his daughter was flown abroad to give birth for which he said he feared for her life if she was handled by a Uganda doctor.
Your Excellency, as much as I don’t want you to fall sick,I request that next time you get sick especially for minor sickness you personally seek treatment from Mulago or any other Govt.facility to restore people trust in our medical facilities.You can do this for even a show akin to your recent roadside telephone call.
It is also my opinion that government moves to reassure Ugandans of commitment to the security of their lives by providing for and holding honest inquests in cases of deaths or alleged deaths occurring from OTHER than natural causes and related matters. The inquest in some recent cases involve the death of the Hon. Cerina Nebanda and others for which Commissions of Inquiry have been instituted but the reports not made public.
Last but not least, my clinical experience in South Africa is a sad awakening to the state of health care systems in Uganda. Even in impoverished localities like Soweto, the people enjoy superior medical facilities and have access to medical insurance cover. We should be seen to invest seriously in our health care system andencourage the country to improve healthcare conditions for workers and citizens at the level of policy. Personally I don’t pride myself in the fact that I can access treatment abroad because in the long run its not sustainable.
Statistics in Uganda present a grim picture of having the least number of doctors and nurses in the world. The state of the country’s healthcare system is awful and it has suffered ‘brain drain’ where we have lost some of the most intelligent medics leave or migrate to another country due to political unrest or lack of opportunities. It is sad that in South Africa, one is attended to by Ugandan medical experts many of whom are running away from political persecution in Uganda.
Bakireke Betty Nambooze
Mukono Municipality MP
Thank you very much.
For God and my Country.