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: The NRM Shields their own [and the COVID-19 Lockdown scandal of 2020 is now water under the bridge]

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) is very forgiving to their own crooks. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda office was in-charge of the procurement for relief food during the first lockdown in 2020 for the urban areas.

What is striking is that the officials secured deals, which ended in a loss of USD $528,000 in inflated in the prices of food. The ones implicated and arrested for these schemes was the Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde Kintu, accounting officer Joel Wanjala, assistant procurement commissioner Fred Lutimba and Martin Owor, the head of COVID-19 relief management.

Today, the Director of Public Prosecution has discontinued the case against them. Even when it is evident they acted fraudulent and massively public wastage of funds. The OPM Food Relief last year was a giant scheme of embezzlement and misuse of office. That’s why there was no tenders and no procurement protocol for in the food relief. It was all brotherly conduct and already using connects. That was the initial drive and this is why they inflated the prices on it.

This is why we know the state isn’t interested in fighting corruption or graft, when people like these are off the hook. The state is not going against the OPM and the ones involved. In the end… and they are able to walk.

That is the story here… and that should what the world needs to know. This isn’t the first or the last time people who is connected gets away from scandals. There been several who been in office and high ranking officials who can steal, embezzle and grand corruption. Still, they can walk to the Parliament, State House and now in the OPM without any consequences. The ones charged and detained on corruption is small-fishes. That’s why the ones sentenced in the Courts is teachers and headmasters eating of funds for ghost-workers and students.

The DPP is now giving way and letting them off the hook. The NRM has done this to others and this is Modus Operandi (M.O) by now. The President and the ones who is in the inner-circle can get away with murder and we know this. It just happened to be with COVID-19 Funds and Relief Food. The OPM wasn’t long time ago inflate refugee numbers to get more donor funds. Therefore, this is what they do to eat and does it deliberately. Therefore, the OPM needs to scheme to run it’s operation.

This isn’t shocking, but it’s a part of a pattern. 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.

Opinion: Museveni needs to learn from Cuba

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).

If the President believes in this… he should look to the Caribbean island of Cuba. The socialist government have built a health care system they can be proud of. President Museveni should call Havana and get some ideas. Especially, if any of his beliefs from his student days would still be hidden somewhere in his skull. Then it should be one-call away and get the knowledge to implement it.

As Cuba been reported like this by CGTN in 2020:

But for many, Cuba’s free universal healthcare system also deserves much of the credit. A WHO publication previously described it as “one of the world’s most effective and unique” systems. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it “a model” for other countries around the world. Despite its poor infrastructure, lack of funds and a decades-long U.S. embargo, Cuba has the highest percentage of physicians in the world, with 8.4 per 1,000 people, according to the World Bank. People on the island have a life expectancy of 79 years – above the world average of 73 and just a few years less than wealthy nations like Japan, Switzerland or Singapore – and its child mortality rate is among the lowest in the world” (Sim Sim Wissgott – ‘Cuba’s doctors, healthcare system in the spotlight after COVID-19’ 10.06.2020, CTGN).

Now this weeks news about Cuba’s Vaccine Abdala:

Cuba has claimed to have developed its own vaccine against Covid-19. Named Abdala, the vaccine has shown tremendous efficacy in combating coronavirus. Considering the clinical data disclosed on Monday, the vaccine is 92% effective against the virus. The efficacy rate places Abdala among the most effective Covid vaccines, including Pfizer’s, Moderna’s and Russia’s Sputnik V” (Narayan Ammachchi – ‘Cuba Launches its Own Vaccine Called Abdala’ 26.06.2021, Nearshore Americas).

Arrived in Venezuela:

CARACAS, Venezuela, (teleSUR) — As part of an agreement between the governments of Cuba and Venezuela, the first batch of Abdala vaccines arrived Thursday to the South American nation, of the total of 12 million agreed, to contribute to Venezuela’s immunization campaign, informed the executive vice president, Delcy Rodríguez. “This extraordinary vaccine, which enjoys one of the best efficacies in the world, will be incorporated into Venezuela’s immunization process and it will be the people who will enjoy it. We are grateful,” said Rodríguez, accompanied by the minister of people’s power for health, Carlos Alvarado, and the minister of science and technology, Gabriela Jiménez” (TeleSur – ‘First batch of Cuba’s COVID vaccine Abdala arrives in Venezuela’ 27.06.2021, Caribbean News Global).

Why do I show these things from Cuba? Well, if Museveni is a man of his words, which the world knows his not. He is big boosting and promising big pledges. However, never putting any coins or investments behind it.

If he would make a vaccine or medicines. The President needs to invest in it. Not only in the confidential parts of the budget. Neither use such vast amount of the state budget on the State House, Office of the President, Office of the Prime Minister and Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). If these are getting less funds… these shillings can be used on research and development at medical studies and also invest more in the health care system, which is lacking these day.

Nevertheless, this President rather live on handouts and spend loans on vanity projects. He rather spend money on a giant entourage and cronyism. Instead of building a well run state and have a working health care system. The COVID-19 Pandemic is only exposing this and shows his years of neglect. Not only the rest of the world using its resources to save its own first, before giving away surplus to others.

The vaccines should be shared equally. However, the Pharma-Industry is a for profit business and they are letting the rich nations by loads of vaccines. Nevertheless, the nations like Uganda haven’t used their funds or borrowed money from IMF/WB to buy vaccines either. They are just awaiting the free donated ones from WHO or GAVI. That’s just tragic and Museveni’s people is doing this.

Museveni needs to call Havana and get some advice. He also needs to see how they have prioritized the Health Care system over the years. This sort of advance and abilities to make a vaccine doesn’t come over night. The government has chosen this and therefore, they have results. They did this to not be dependent.

So, has Museveni been sleeping for over 35 years? I would say… he has been sleeping and awaited Presidential Handshakes from foreign investors to plant sugar and grow mangoes. Peace.

Opinion: Prayers alone will not save the Republic from COVID-19

Today, the President hold the 4th National Prayer Session since the start of the Global Pandemic in concern with the Coronavirus or COVID-19. This isn’t the first, but the fourth and a proclaimed holiday as well. The prayer is done during the recently announced lockdown, which is in full effect at the moment.

President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni and his ruling regime isn’t winning the battle. The hospitals isn’t working, the health care system wasn’t prepared and neither was his state apparatus. That is all to blame on himself and his close associates. They had all the time in the world to invest, prepare and ensure the Ministry of Health was up to scratch. The whole government have had agencies, multi-national organizations and others supporting the health care industry over the years.

The President and his party have really very few excuses here. They have been in-charge since 1986. If someone had the time or the ability to invest, develop or create a working system. The bureaucrats in combination of thrifty politicians should have made that possible. As well, as a former donor friendly government and new breed leadership should have secured the footing of the expensive expansion. However, that was never the priority.

That is why the hospitals and health care centres aren’t up to par. They are never prepared and there was never an intention for it. The government supported system is failing and that was even before the pandemic hit it. There been so many stories of lacking equipment, dilapidated units and no concern of the lack of educated staff. This is why the COVID-19 is showing the distress and the disturbing fact of how the state has run this over the years.

The state could in ordinary times run away from it. They could misuse funds, spend on confidential expenditure, vast military budget and other various of post. While neglect the Ministry of Health. Forget the hospitals and their needs. Just like it never invested in machinery or procured the cancer machine for Mulago Hospital. That is just a proof of how dire and how problematic this field was.

The virus just reveal this at a large scale. It isn’t just one field of the medicine that’s hit. No, the whole system gets a pinch. The lack of ventilators, oxygen and PPE equipment. The lack of procurement of vaccines and in general negligence is a proven now.

What is tragic is that the citizens are paying the price for the lack of ICU beds. The citizens are paying a huge price for the treatments, the beds and the possible second grade treatment in the hospitals. As they are running out of needed healing remedies. The people on the streets are hawking unlicensed treatments in COVIDEX and cannot find shelter or hope. They are seeing loved ones are dying and suffering, because the state never even tried to prepare.

The state was busy buying suits, SUVs and other luxurious perks for the elites. Paying no mind on the lost ones today. They were living large on the misfortunate. That is the tragic reality here. The elite and the President lived a life of grandeur and still does. They can still flee as medical tourists elsewhere. However, the average citizens is footing a bill they cannot commit too and possible for a tale of more pain before things better.

That’s why a fourth day of prayers is really insulting. The President praying is a fine symbol. It is a tribute and a way of showing care. However, it is really shallow, when you know he has had over three decades and COVID-19 isn’t the first pandemic and neither last to hit on a global scale. The President could have together will all stakeholders prepared the hospitals and everything in connection a lot better.

The President could have road-maps and possible plans in case of a pandemic. The state could have mechanisms and funds for procurement of vaccines in emergency. However, that seems like a far-fetched idea. As the state only has rich wealth for tear-gas and paying security of the VIPs. That is how things seems …

That his praying now is a bit hopeless. Instead of using all these COVID-19 loans from IMF and World Bank to any good. Nevertheless, it seems like he has sullied the Republic and hoping nobody mind. Peace.

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