Uganda: Federation For Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) letter to Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng – Re: Sit Down Strike of all Medical Interns (02.11.2022)

Opinion: The Acholi MPs should worry about the hospital(s) in their region

That the Acholi Parliamentary Group should worry about the state of affairs locally and the lack thereof. Yes, they can be offended and cry havoc over some demonstrations held by National Unity Platform (NUP) activists in Seattle, United States, where Speaker of the Parliament Jacob Oulanyah is currently getting his treatment for his illness.

However, the Acholi MPs should worry that they have 5 district without hospitals and the ones they do have isn’t up to scratch. One the Lacor or St. Mary’s Hospital in Gulu is run on donations and not on government subsidies. As well, as one of the other hospitals in the region is Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, which lacks housing for staff, which was it has failed to complete after commissioning it 8 years ago in 2021. While the same hospitals also have trouble with it’s power supply, which is also insufficiently run oxygen plant at the hospital. That was reported also in 2021.

Therefore, the Acholi MPs should worry about the state of the hospitals it has in the region and the lack of thereof, which is striking. These MPs are more about image and displeased that Oulanyah is getting into trouble for his medical tourism. That is done, because the Ministry of Health and the Hospitals of the nation cannot help his sickness. This is why the state and the taxpayers are paying for his services, travel and costs of treatment. That’s why the Acholi MPs should worry about that tab and how these funds could have been utilized in the Republic.

Instead, the Acholi MPs are not showing a power move. The Acholi MPs should be concerned about how their citizens and constituents have to go far to get to the nearest hospital. Secondly, they might not able to get the treatment they need or deserve. Third, I doubt the state will foot the bill for any commoner from the sub-region to do the same. Because, we know these sorts of services only get footed and covered for the high ranking officials. A person in Kitgum or in Pader can forget to get this sort of medical help or ability to book a flight to the United States.

This is the failure of the MPs and the representative of the region to understand. They are fine that their own asses and possible offices is safeguarded, as they are regarded as honourables. Nevertheless, the citizens and the ones living in their region doesn’t have the same opportunities. The citizens has to walk long or get transport across the sub-region to get to a medical facility or even a working hospital.

This shows how mismanaged their adventure of going after the NUP. The Acholi MPs should ensure more voting of funds to the hospital and Ministry of Health. They should ensure the region and the districts have working hospitals with staff, medicine and equipment to help the ones getting sick. In such a fashion that Oulanyah doesn’t have to get fit-to-fly across the world for a hospital bed. That shows the world how these parliamentarians has failed their role and the ones who voted them in.

Since they rather wants to a pissing contest with NUP MPs and the Opposition party. To defend the honour of the speaker, instead of honouring the constituents who they represent on the daily. These are the ones they should care about and not that anyone demonstrate against the speaker. He is just one man and the state clearly couldn’t take care of him at home. That’s why the state had to foot the bill and pay for an expensive flight to the U.S. for him, which we know wouldn’t happen to any ordinary citizen of the state.

That’s why only the high ranking officials and the ones who is part of the anointed elite is allowed to be medical tourists on the bill of the state. This is what causing the outrage and the demonstration against Oulanyah. The same concerns could be put on the late Rev. Simon Lokodo who died while under treatment in Switzerland. Therefore, we know something is wrong in the Ministry of Health and the state of the hospitals in the Republic. If everything was working and they were proper places to be at. The High Ranking Officials would have stayed home and not travelled abroad to get treatment. That is just the reality here and its evident of what is lacking. Because if everything was working. Oulanyah would have been treated at Mulago or Aga Khan for that matter in Kampala. The same could have been said about Lokodo.

It is time the Acholi MPs reflects about that and not feels insulted by a few demonstrators. The Acholi MPs should worry about their districts and the lack of proper medical care or facilities there. Since that what’s really wrong here and the reason for Oulanyah’s fate in the first place. Peace.

The Auditor General Report states the critical condition that 4 hospitals are in…

In the Consolidated Auditor General Report of December 2021, which was released this week. It states how terrible the things are in the hospitals across the Republic. This is not in one of them, but it comes back and the report is really showing how the state hasn’t invested or prepared the Ministry of Health, neither the budgets to ensure the hospitals has the beds, equipment and personnel to cope with the needs. That is very clear and I will show it here…

Butabika National Mental Referral Hospital:

According to the patient admission schedule and the strategic plan, the Hospital currently handles between 750 and 780 in-patients per month compared to its bed capacity of 550 patients. This implies that 200 to 230 admitted patients either share beds or sleep on the floor” (Auditor General, December 2021).

Kawempe National Referral Hospital:

It was noted that the Hospital stored expired medicines without disposing them as required by the law. Out of the seventy four (74) items of expired drugs, I observed that thirty six (36) had expired by end of December 2020 (representing 49%). Under the circumstances, lives of patients are threatened by the existence of expired medicines at the hospital premises. I noted that the Referral Hospital was heavily congested with patients crowded in the wards and some sleeping on the floors. This was further evidenced by the data collected on Bed Occupancy Rates which showed an average BOR of 113% for the year under review. Congestion was also observed in the stores where some items were placed directly on the floor exposing them to damage” (Auditor General, December 2021).

Kiruddu National Referral Hospital:

A review of drugs supply chain management revealed that on several occasions there were drug stock-outs which left Kiruddu Hospital without several essential, vital and necessary drugs. Inspection of the hospital drug stores revealed that some drugs/chemicals had expired in the Hospital stores. This could have been due to low utilization rates, receipt of drugs with short shelf life or placement of orders that do not match the usage patterns” (Auditor General, December 2021).

Mulago National Referral Hospital:

The Hospital spent UGX. 474,479,100 on refurbishment of the MRI machine. It was noted that the MRI machine was delivered and installed in 2018 and has since never been put to use” (…) “I noted that vital medical equipment was in poor working condition, while others were fully not functional and required replacement. The equipment included: autoclaves in the central sterile service department; patient monitors in the accident and emergency surgical unit; blood coagulation machine in the clinical laboratory unit; ICU beds in the intensive care unit, and CT machine in the Radiology department” (Auditor General, December 2021).

After reading such things, you wonder how the state of the hospitals is across the republic. As these are just four of them. This is not all of them, but only four. Where there is overcrowding of patients and either lacking medicines or having out of date ones. This is really telling how the Ministry is mismanaged and underfunded, as the staff and hospitals are not well served. Neither can the other agencies supporting the hospitals be well-run either. As the state haven’t cared for them as well.

This here is a tragic record and after the global pandemic. The state should have the basics in order, but clearly that’s too much to ask. Peace.

Federation for Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI): Suspension of Medical Interns’ Sit-Down Strike (22.12.2021)

Uganda: Press Release by Uganda Nurses and Midwives’ Union – Medical Interns Allowances for Nurses and Midwives (21.12.2021)

The Medical Interns strike is a self-made crisis… and the state has the the tools to resolve it…

This is what empty promises and sending love letters between the bureaucratic institutions. The state and the government have promised a relief and added salary for the medical interns. This is going back to the first strike this year in June 2021 and the promises of the President and his letter to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Economic Development (MoFPED) in July 2021.

Now, we are in mid-December 2021 and nothing has happened. The Federation for Uganda Medical Interns (FUMI) have rights to fight for their members and for the ones who is on the front-line. For a President who defends and wants to pay scientists. It is really weak that he cannot find the funds or allocate funds to fix this. Alas, this isn’t an priority.

That’s why on the 10th December 2021 the Ministry of Health has sent out an letter and said the medical interns can be evicted and vacate the Hospitals within a week to pave way for new ones in January 2022. This shows that the state was never interested in paying a fair salary and the covering their basic needs. As these are the future of the Ministry of Health and the ones who can become the Health Care professionals the MoH needs.

This government clearly doesn’t care about the Ministry of Health or the ones working there. They don’t prioritize it or have any concerns, because there is always an Non-Governmental Organization or United Nations Organizations covering the shortfalls. If not, the high ranking officials is taking trips abroad to get healing. The medical tourism of the big-men and the patronage is the reason for not valuing the hospitals and health centres.

When the President knows perfectly well the problems. He has even written a letter directing the MoFPED in July 2021. There is all the reasons to listen to the grievances and needs of the medical interns. This is if the government or the National Resistance Movement (NRM) even values the scientists or the ones who combat a pandemic. The NRM thinks they can assault and silence the ones who cannot even feed themselves.

On the 10th December 2021, the same day as the MoH went after the Medical Interns. “The Uganda Dental Association (UDA) hereby informs the general public that we will be joining the ongoing industrial action organized by the Uganda Medical Association. We sincerely apologize for any and all inconveniences caused” (UDA, 10.12.2021). They are joining the Uganda Medical Association, which is on their 5th week of industrial action and that’s all because the state cannot live up to their own promises. This is neglecting their mission and good governance, which is proving how bad the state is at governing at this current time.

Association of Graduate Nurses and Midwives of Uganda wrote yesterday a press release. Where the AGNMU states the importance of the medical interns. They are not only condemning, but stating that it’s a dangerous decision by the MoH, which will affect the 2022 cohort. Secondly, which was interesting was this line from the

AGNMU: “Ministry of health should pay medical interns as per the presidential directive. Why should a mother starve her children? Medical interns deserve to be paid for their great work they contribute to health care in Uganda” (AGNMU – ‘Press Release on Medical Interns Strike’ 11.12.2021).

It is clear, that the President, MoFPED and MoH have no plans of honouring their promises. This has been going on for too long and they have no plans of changing it. The state shows that with initially firing the interns and wanting to hire others. Which is not respecting or honouring the ideals of a strike. They are making the workers and the medical professionals into a commodity they can easily transfer or change. So, if these sorts of actions causes a brain-drain. The state created this by themselves and gave no incentives for the ones trying to be come a nurse, midwife or doctor to stay in the Republic. Since, the state doesn’t value your eduction or your profession anyway. That’s the message here and they been saying that with the inaction for months. Peace.

Opinion: Deployment of medics at road-blocks is ridiculous

For the Joint Security Agencies, we are on track to continue enforcement of the lockdown, to help slow down the pace of the pandemic. This is because acts of impatience and complacence are still prevalent within the public. The bodabodas are steadily carrying passengers especially women, we are witnessing an increase in fake patients, excuses of going for vaccination and burials, use of fake stickers, opening of bars, etc. As a result we are also devising new tactics of additionally deploying medical teams at check points to counter fake patients, Inspectorate officers to supervise the removal of number plates from non-essential vehicles parked on streets, snap checkpoints etc. Such reckless behaviours by the COVID offenders will simply increase or delay the presence of the deadly variants in the country” (Uganda Police Force – ‘RETURNS ON ENFORCEMENT OF THE LOCKDOWN AND CURFEW’ 12.07.2021).

This is the second lockdown and on the 24th day of the 42 days of lockdown. The authorities and the Joint Security Agencies have now a new directive, as the Uganda Police Force was releasing this one.

What is striking is that the checkpoints and road-blocks will have a medical team. A team is based of a certain type of personnel. This could possibly mean doctors, nurses and other medical trained personnel. Instead of these actually being in service and working inside a hospital or health centre.

They will be stuck with police officers and other security agents. Who are on the road-block or the checkpoints wasting time. They are in the field singing psalms of nothingness and wondering why they are alive. Because, they are supposed to be in the hospital and heal people. They are supposed to help the sick to medicated and proper treatment. Not assess everyone passing by a checkpoint or a roadblock. To deem them fit….

This is a mockery. Especially, when the Hospitals, Health Centres and the Ministry of Health is understaffed. There has been a lack of jobs and filling the positions as is. It is not like there is growing doctors or nurses on trees. They are not appearing out of nowhere and suddenly entering our lives. No, it takes years of education and experience to be a good professional health care worker. That is a measurable skill and their knowledge is valuable. Especially in a pandemic. When the distress and the added cases is surging. So, that the hospitals are running low on staff and equipment.

At that time… the Joint Security Agencies are thinking it’s a good idea to deploy medical personnel on the roads. Misusing their time and their skills. When the hospitals need every hand and wise professional to do the right thing.

That just show how mismanaged and how foolish this government this. Instead of doing what is best and actually provide for the Hospitals and Health Centres. They are instead shooting them in the foot and asking them to dance. That will be painful and everyone will give the dancer pity. While wondering when the hurt person will go to the hospital themselves.

The authorities, the security organizations and the state itself shouldn’t allow this. They are depleting and deploying important people away from where their needed the most. The medical personnel needs to be where the sick and the equipment is supposed to be accessible.

These folks stationed at checkpoints will only take away their help and ensure more people’s demise. As they will waste their time. Not doing their job, but being additional people whose only there to validate what the police wants to hear. This will not end good, but only make things worse.

The ones who thought of this is stupid. Why are taking away professionals from their working place? When they are needed there the most. That’s not smart, but very very stupid. Peace.

Opinion: The Prime Minister shows the “dope on the table” in a den of thieves

Lt. Cedric Daniels: [leaving Burrell’s office] “Dope on the damn table” (The Wire, Season 1 – Episode 11, 2003).

Last year, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the President was asking for donations to fight COVID-19. This is year is no difference. Yesterday, there was a press conference with the Prime Minster Robinah Nabbanja after business tycoon Hamis Kiggundu gave 530m shillings. Which was shown to do the world as cash on the table. Like the Uganda Police Force (UPF) had done a raid and shown the evidence of the crime committed by someone.

This is the” dope on the damn table”. It is a show of money and a promise. This isn’t the first time… and not the last. It is a show for the general public during the lockdown. Last year the state wanted new cars from companies to fight COVID-19. That was the main objective of the President and not making better hospitals.

Now, the state again is asking businesses and companies to donate to the government. A government who has raised more loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Twice they have borrowed to fight and recover from pandemic. Still, those funds are not utilized and isn’t helping to procure either vaccines, PPE or upgrading the hospitals. Neither adding hazard pay for nurses, doctors and whatnot who is on the frontline during the pandemic either.

The NRM is insane and think they can sell this like a raid of a mafia. Like they found a mob and where they hidden the stash. They have found the bricks of drugs and showing their evidence of the criminal conspiracy. The state is proud that Kiggundu has donated funds, at the same time taking up more loans to supposedly fight this.

So, why borrow billions of shillings from the IMF and still ask for donations from struggling businesses? They are closed off again and not allowed to operate in the 42 days lockdown. Not like the money is growing on trees. Neither is there a fountain of youth helping people to natural immunity. Therefore, the state should use the IMF money and not beg from companies to bail them out.

The state have already been bailed out and taking out more loans without proper revenue to cover it up later. This means someone else have to find the revenue and the tax base to cover this deficit later. While the state is begging and showing finesse by having “dope on the table”. I’m sure the President was proud of that moment. Because, it looks like he was doing something…

Though the show off on national TV isn’t creating more ICU beds. Neither is it making more nurses ready for a new outbreak. It isn’t helping the families who cannot afford the costs of having their family members in the hospitals. It isn’t helping the ones struggling to get to the hospital and cannot get medicines or oxygen.

This “dope on the table” scene from the Wire and the Commissioners orders to have that. Is what we are seeing now in real life. A proof of work and of good deeds. The Prime Minister had her moment of shine and promise. Now, we are supposed to trust the government and donate. To a government who already borrowed to it’s knees and has nothing to show for it.

The IMF should question itself and wonder why it accepts these lies or tricks. Unless, they want to have leverage for a new Structural Adjustment Plan for the next generation. Not like the privatization has made things better, but then again. It is so the ones funding IMF can get their international companies to trade on the market and dissolve the local ones. They won’t state that, but that is the initial action in the end.

So, the quagmire is here. The dope is on the table and the deceit is happening directly in-front of you. Peace.

Opinion: Ministry of Health – Deliver the goods and not just talk…

The Ministry of Health and Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine have promised greatness and huge results during the pandemic. This being the usage of donations in 2020 and International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to cover the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Health should instead of talking…. ACT. The state, the National Resistance Movement and everyone who ensures the hospitals and health centres are working. The Government of Uganda (GoU) needs get checked and questioned. Especially, when the hospitals lacks the basics. Neither prepared for a second wave of the pandemic.

It isn’t like the GoU and MoH should have made things possible. They should have covered the allowances and hazard pay for the health care workers. The same should be with educating nurses for the ICU and procure more ICU beds. Secondly, get ventilators, bigger production of oxygen and buy vaccines by the truck-loads. Instead of waiting for gifts and donations from the International Community. While the state is borrowing huge loans to cover for this.

That’s why the Ministry of Health, the government and all the bureaucrats needs to get help from the “high above”. They need to get the hold of the funds and capacity to actually do what is needed. Instead of seeing people dying because they are not getting in time to the hospital. Some even get to the hospital, but the lack of oxygen kills the loved ones. Instead of giving them a little more time to heal and catch the needed breath.

The MoH and GoU needs to man-up and take responsibility. They have failed their citizens. The Hospitals and the health care system was crashing before the pandemic. The pandemic is only exposing it and showing the dire distress. It is the innocent and the tax-payers who is not getting what they are deserving. These deserve to get treatment and healing from the virus. They shouldn’t die in the hospital, because the state didn’t prepare or spend needed funds to make it operational. They instead spend it on SUVs and Elections….

That’s how it seems. Dr. Atwine and the likes needs to fix the problems and not whine over this in a press release. They should instead of jumping behind the barricades and go into self-defence. The Permanent Secretary should go over to the State House and beg for more money. Should ask for funds from the Confidential Funds or whatnot. So, that she can procure, ensure training and equipment that can save lives.

That they should do, if that matters and if they want to stop the medical tourism, which is always a saving grace for VIPs and the elites. Therefore, the MoH and GoU better get a grip. They have borrowed twice from the IMF to save themselves during the COVID-19. Instead of spending directly on the necessary on Health Care. It goes to everywhere else and for whatever causes the state see fit.

That’s why the MoH sucks and the GoU is corrupted. They are not willing to invest or using loans to save lives. That is the proof and the Permanent Secretary have to responsibility together with all of the Ministers running the Ministry. They are all chefs and this is the dish they are serving. It is not tasty or a fine dining meal. It is fast-food and sometimes the plate isn’t even delivered. However, the Ministry is still billing the citizen who arrives at the hospital. That is the sad reality and this got to change. Peace.

Opinion: 100k shillings and stumbling…

The Government of Uganda (GoU) and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have no approved an programme where they give “vulnerable” a voucher of 100,000 shillings. This is based out of a “Basket Calculation Formula”. This voucher is supposed to cover maize/posho, beans, bars of soap, cooking oil and other expenditure.

What is striking is how half-baked this voucher is. As the NRM and the Government seems to only doing it on a weird merit. They are not considering the costs of UMEME, Rent or anything else. Not like 20k is covering that. Because, the voucher is based on covering food for a month for 80k. That means the 20k is covering for everything else. I wonder, if that pays the boda-boda for dropping off the food during the lockdown? No additions for transport fees or even other costs. Which is still liable for… as the lockdown prolongs and the citizens cannot go to the market and make the funds to pay these bills.

This basket calculation formula is really a basket case. It isn’t functioning for a real family. This is just based on a fixed sum of funds to give the vulnerable. The vulnerable, which is based on 13 categories and you can wonder if the state an find these people. The citizens who they have put on that list. Isn’t the ones that is paying vat or being registered to authorities. The state can find out who is hired and works in a bar, but finding street-vendors and hawkers. That is a mission in its own. Doubt they are registered somewhere…

The government will really struggle to find these workers and the ones within the gig-economy who is struggling. Unless, they are planning to send the RDCs and RPC to the ghettos and streets to see if anyone is there. Secondly, if they are going to send out forms and applications to the people now to figure out, who is working where and whatnot.

This is when you know things are dire and distress. The state knew the gig-economy been the driver. The system is exposed and the needs are vast. This 100k shillings drive will not resolve things, but only patch the hurt for a minute. It is not like this solve the bills or the running expenses while awaiting release out of lockdown. This is a shot at the moon and aiming for the stars.

If the state had made a significant plan and shown character on this. It would have made sense. If they had a plan of serious amount of money and actually game-changing. Also, ensured all other expenses was covered. That there was a suspension of costs and the burdens on electricity, water and other utilities. That could have helped. Not to mention gas and possible petrol. As the black-outs is not stopping during the lockdowns.

Therefore, this is a hack-job and no matter where you twist or turn. It is a questionable act. As it cannot be measured or even processed. There is so much you can doubt and the state is never prepared. Just like it was never prepared or had the systems in order for the food deliveries in the first lockdown last year.

The idea itself of a voucher and a cash-check to the citizens during a lockdown isn’t dumb. However, the set-up and the premise, which the state delivers is foolish. It is so bureaucratic. That parts of me wonders if they will find all the bouncers, the street-vendors and hawkers in time to drop the shillings to them. Before its to late and the bureaucrat is buying the New Vision from them again on the way to work.

For God and For Country. Well, for God and have mercy upon us. They don’t know what they do. Show us your grace and shelter us in need. Amen. Peace.

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