Uganda: Uganda Medical Association (UMA) – Press Release (21.05.2023)
I write what I like.
“The ministry of health has revealed that six school-going children in three schools in Rubaga division in Kampala have tested positive for Ebola” (NTV Uganda, 26.10.2022).
“The Ministry of Health has cautioned parents and schools in Kampala to increase vigilance and adherence to the standard operating procedures following confirmed cases of Ebola among some students in Rubaga division of Kampala” (NBS Television, 26.10.2022).
“President Museveni has imposed a 21-day lockdown on the central districts of Mubende and Kassanda to contain an Ebola outbreak that has already claimed 19 lives in Uganda. “Movements into and out of Mubende and Kassanda is prohibited,” President Museveni directed in his third quick-succession night televised address on Ebola” (David Vosh Ajuna – ‘Ebola: Museveni puts Mubende, Kassanda under 21-day lockdown’ 15.10.2022, 93.3 KFM Radio).
The lockdown of Mubende and Kassanda districts has clearly not stopped the transmission of the Ebola virus in the Republic. There is now more spread of it in Kampala. Things are getting worse and rapidly a problem, which seems to soon out of control.
This can also be said after not only the news from the Ministry of Health today with further cases in Kampala. However, also the boda-boda driver at Kololo. This shows that the virus is spreading and at a rate, which seems to be spiralling.
With the knowledge we have of Ebola, this is serious. Just read a part of the fact-sheet from the World Health Organization (WHO), which is specific on how Ebola virus is spreading…
“Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals (such as fruit bats, porcupines and non-human primates) and then spreads in the human population through direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks” (WHO – ‘Fact Sheets: Ebola virus disease’ 23.02.2021).
Now that the Ebola is outside of the lockdown districts and within the Greater Kampala area. Soon we can see or here about cases in Mukono or Wakiso districts too. This is just the beginning of it, as I see it.
When we saw the last address of Museveni. With the newest information and such, more and extensive lockdowns are on the horizon. When the President could announce it for two districts. The news of transmissions in Kampala. We expect a lockdown and new stoppage of ordinary life. Especially, if we see the numbers rise and the amount of people reported with it. Because, this is spreading and evidently it’s not stopped.
When we see the numbers of other outbreaks of Ebola, the fatality rate is huge. So, this is worrying and should be a significant factor in acting swiftly. Peace.
“I like the unfortunate phenomenon of western countries halting exportation of the COVID19 vaccine until all their citizens are fully vaccinated. This will enable Africans to wake up and manufacture their own medicines. I like the bad things because Africans sleep too much, I have never believed in dependency. This selfishness in the world is bad but it’s a shame that the whole of the African continent is asleep waiting to be saved by others… In the short run, we shall see who can sell COVID19 vaccines to us. As far as Uganda is concerned, I assure you, we will never again be in such a situation, we are making our own vaccine” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (27.06.2021).
Another day, another Parliament Report exposing the rot of the Government. A government that isn’t follow the laws, codes and protocols of the republic. Direct Presidential Directives which have no barring and to ambition to be achieved. Neither was there anywhere close to be legit research or able to fulfil it’s mission.
The State House and Ministries clearly miscalculated their abilities and the promise of the project. Neither did it have the scientists or the manpower to do it. There was not enough time or enough research spaces to make it happen. The budgets was to slim and there was also spending unaccounted for. A sort of troubling project, which is meant to fail. A spending spree without any accountability or transparency. A money pit without without any sort of proof of value for money. The PRESIDE and associated projects was bound to fail. The Parliamentary reports published today is called: “REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION ON COVID-19 RELATED RESEARCH FOR FY 2019/20 TO FY 202/22”.
This report is a story of how a President and the State House directs, implement and execute without proper planning or direction for that matter. It is just headache and shows what sort of enterprise the whole COVID-19 vaccine programme PRESIDE was and that’s why the quotes of this report is so explicit.
It is a total utter failure and the President is implicated it, as it is his directive and run directly from the State House. This wasn’t a Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED) or Ministry of Health. No, this was an affair out of the State House and shows how it goes. Done without being bound by law or done correctly. That’s why this was bound to fail, which it did.
Just read these quotes from the report to get the gist:
“In his statement, he indicated that up to UGX. 20bn had been drawn from the consolidated fund for scientists under PRESIDE to manufacture a COVID-I9 vaccine and an additional UGX. 50bn was drawn on 2021 for PRESIDE, and yet supervising Ministry (Ministry of Science, Technolory and Innovation) had been disbanded. He further questioned the legality of the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE), queried its staffing, operations and whether its premises in Ntinda that had no laboratories would be able to produce a vaccine” (May 2022 report).
“Overall funding for COVID- 19 research was as follows:
– UGX. 5.3bn for PRESIDE FY 2019/20
– UGX. 31.03bn for projects under PRESIDE, UGX. 3.35bn for PRESIDE secretariat operations, and UGX. 2.74bn under NRIP in FY2020/2l
– UGX. 25bn for project operations, a supplementary request of UGX. 50.4bn for a manufacturing plant and UGX. 27bn for additional operational funds for PRESIDE projects in FY 2021/22” (May 2022 report).
“A total of (seventeen) 17 projects (Project l-17) was presented before Parliament with a total budget of UGX. 25bn, for implementation in FY2021/22. When additional funds of UGX. 27bn became available through a supplementary budget, the total number of projects raised to 27, where 10 new projects (Projects 18-27) were introduced and two of the already approved projects i.e. (projects 6 (Immune Therapy – Convalescent plasma). and 14 (Herbal Products for Management of COVID-19) were dropped. The Committee found that the two projects should have been given funds for implementation whether there was a supplementary or not since their budgets had already been approved by Parliament in the Ministerial Policy Statement. No reasons were given for their exclusion” (May 2022 report).
“The Committee while interacting with the petitioner was informed that PRESIDE was a company formed by Dr. Monica Musenero and some of her family members including her husband. These allegations were disputed by Hon. Musenero, who informed the Committee that PRESIDE is neither an organtzation nor a company but a project under State House” (…) “However, the Committee noted that the establishment of PRESIDE violates governance rules, as it has no legal status. The initiative has not been incorporated in accordance with the laws of Uganda. Therefore it is not a legal entity. The Committee also observed from the concerned officials that no steps had been taken to have it legally established” (May 2022 report).
“Although PRESIDE was established with a visionary mandate, to be a vehicle to spear the pathogen economy, it has been mired with mismanagement, poor accountability practices and overall poor planning. At its inception, Government failed to define its legality, failed to analyze and optimize the structures that were already in place and build on these as a way of driving the pathogen economy forward. This went against the current government policy on rationalization and improvement of efficiencies within MDAs. The role of UNHRO, MoSTI, UNCST as regulators was usurped and replaced with PRESIDE which had a temporary supervisory framework in form of a MoU. With the expiry of the MoU, PRESIDE as a project remained operational yet not supervised because its Chairperson is the Minister responsible for the docket of STI and also the Special Presidential Advisor on Epidemics” (May 2022 report).
Reading a report like this is shattering. It just shows how the state is mismanaging funds and how the State House isn’t preparing things ahead. The whole PRESIDE shows how a Presidential Directive is put into life, but never able to implement, because the state doesn’t have the funds, manpower or the facilities to do it. The PRESIDE is an utter failure…
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) was all talk, but no business. They can start-up organizations and projects, but they have no plans of the implementation or protocols to ensure it is successful. PRESIDE is a proof on how not to run a project… as it has had no plan or any sort of proof that it would actually manage the mission from the on-set.
The ones that believes the NRM would be able to produce a COVID-19 vaccine was day-dreaming, because the whole PRESIDE can be seen as a nightmare. The ones running it should be ashamed and it was a waste of government funding. Nothing to show for it and only a name-tag, which runs back to the State House and the Presidential Directive. A
All of it is a waste … the President should be held to account as he ushered it in and it did nothing. They will fault everyone, but if it wasn’t for him… this mess wouldn’t exist and the report wouldn’t have been published either.
The PRESIDE should be lectured at Makerere University or something in how not to run things and be a case-study in bad-governance. This is a proof of how not to govern and nothing was done correctly. That’s why it deserve to be acknowledged and used as a learning experience. Since, the next government could do another properly and actually achieve something worthwhile. Peace.
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.
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.
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.