Kampala 3 January 2019:- The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO DG), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has lauded Uganda for the Ebola preparedness response mounted, so far, in the high-risk districts of the country.
Dr Tedros said that Uganda’s disease outbreak response system is recognized globally for its effectiveness. He commended the government for the support rendered during the ongoing vaccination exercising, saying, “The vaccination exercise will go a long way in saving the lives of frontline health workers and health care workers and we are really grateful for the government’s commitment and support.”
He made these remarks at a meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister where he met key government dignitaries including; the Prime Minister- Right Honourable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda; Minister of Foreign Affairs- Hon Sam Kuteesa; Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs- Hon Bright Rwamirama; Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary-Dr Diana Atwiine and other government officials.
He highlighted the appreciation by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of Uganda for the support in the ongoing outbreak response especially regarding capacity building in Infection Prevention and Control and cross-border screening and surveillance.
Dr Tedros emphasized the need to amplify Primary Health Care (PHC) in Uganda in order to prevent diseases among the population. He added that health promotion and prevention of communicable and Non-communicable disease are key to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The Prime Minister of Uganda, Right Honorable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda appreciated WHO’s endless support to Uganda, saying, “Whatever Uganda has managed to achieve in public health is because of the general leadership of WHO.”
He noted, with concern, the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC, and commended WHO and partners in the response for braving the harsh conditions to save lives. “Your hard work and sacrifice do not go unnoticed”, he said.
Dr Ruhakana also highlighted the importance of PHC to Uganda. “We have no choice but to support PHC. It is the key to tackling many of the afflictions we are getting”, he said. He committed the government to achieve UHC in Uganda.
In the wake of the Ebola outbreak that is affecting the Eastern part of DRC close to the Uganda-DRC border, Uganda is implementing a series of activities to ensure that the country is protected from the Ebola outbreak or able to control the outbreak in case of a confirmed case in Uganda. These include vaccination of frontline health workers, screening of travellers at the points of entry, risk communication and community engagement, enhanced surveillance including community-based disease surveillance and cross-border surveillance. Other activities include the collection and testing of blood samples from alert cases, capacity building for case management, psycho-social care and capacity building for safe and dignified burials.
The meeting was attended by government officials, the media and officials from WHO headquarters and WHO Uganda country office.
“In this regard, we need to learn and apply lessons from emerging economies such as India, whose total healthcare industry revenue is expected to increase from US$ 110 billion in 2016 to US$ 372 billion in 2022 in response to deliberate investments in telemedicine, manufacturing of medicines and health technologies, medical tourism, health workforce training and risk pooling/health insurance, among others. In order to achieve this, we need to plan in a harmonized way. In Uganda, for instance, we, indeed, have a nascent pharmaceutical industry producing Aids/HIV, Malaria, Hepatitis-B, pharmaceuticals, etc. drugs. These are, however, still using imported pharmaceutical grade starch and imported pharmaceutical grade sugar. The pharmaceutical grade starch and sugar are crucial for making tablets and syrups for children’s medicines. Yet, the starch is from maize and cassava and the pharmaceutical grade sugar is from sugar. I am told the drugs would be 20% cheaper. Moreover, apart from helping in the pharmaceutical industry, more refined sugar is also needed in the soft drinks industry. Uganda is squandering US$34 million per year importing refined sugar for the soft drinks, about US$ 20 million for importing the pharmaceutical grade starches not including the other raw materials, US$ 77million for taking patients to India etc. Africa is incredibly rich but wasteful” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE JOINT EAC HEADS OF STATE RETREAT ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND HEALTH FINANCING AND DEVELOPMENT, 22.02.2018).
Seems like the 1980s World Bank loans to restart Kakira Sugar Works hasn’t done enough, since the Ugandan state did right after the National Resistance Army takeover of the state. They went into an arrangement with the World Bank getting loans for the company, to restart. That deal was done 8th March 1988. As the documents said back in 198:
“Uganda currently imports US$15-20 million worth of sugar annually, which ranks second only to petroleum imports. Import substitution through restoration of domestic production capacity is therefore a high priority and eminently justified given the considerable comparative advantage Uganda enjoys as a result of its landlocked situation. Conditions for sugar production at Kakira are highly favorable. Cane growing benefits from excellent soils, good rainfall distribution (requiring only limited sunplementary irrigation) and relatively low levels of inputs of fertilizers and pesticides. The project brings back to the Kakira complex the original owners who have a demonstrated ability to manage sugar operations at Kakira and elsewhere” (SUGAR REHABILITATION PROJECT, 08.03.1988).
Therefore, what the President said today, the Sugar Rehabilitation Project, which was done to stop the heavy imports of sugar and for consumption, has clearly not worked as projected. Since his own state is squandering their resources and not even following the loans to make the project work. That is my take on it. The president of 32 years has clearly mismanaged this and not finished his job. Since he hasn’t been able to rehabilitate the industry.
When it comes to pharmaceutical industry there massive challenges, not just the sugar starch for medicine coverage of the pills. Nevertheless, the whole arrangement, since the technology to operate these machines are imported, as well is the parts. Not only the sugar starch, but also the ingredients are imported too, than you have few companies who has automated manufactures, which makes hard to make medicine on a larger scale. It is also high operation cost, because of use of back-up generators because of blackouts and shortfall of electricity. Because of this, it is expensive to have cold storage of the medicine and have a storage for the final products.
So the Idea from Museveni that it is simple, it is the whole system around it, that makes it more profitable to import ready made medicine, than actually produce it. Even if the added value of production would be there, but with the circumstances put by United Nations Industrial Development Organization, seemingly it is from 2009. However, the state of affairs hasn’t changed that much.
We can really estimate, that the adjustment and the needed organization to pull forward both industries during the years of NRM hasn’t been totally fruitful. If so, why would he complain about the imports of sugar and medicine, when he hasn’t been able to make it function with his 32 years of reign? Someone who has 3 decades, should have the ability and time to find the information, finalize plans and execute as seen fit. That is if he cared about the industries in question and their possible engines for growth and riches of Africa. Nevertheless, he hasn’t cared and haven’t used the time wisely. He has used the time bitching and not acting. That is just the way things is and it isn’t becoming better either.
He could have made sure that the pharmaceutical industry had energy, had the sufficient organization behind it to make the medicine, not only import and assemble certain medicine, he could have made sure the sugar industry was profitable and had the equipment to make the refined sugar used in the pharmaceutical industry. However, both is a lost cause, because it takes money and time. Both, is something he doesn’t have, since the narrative isn’t making him wealthy.
Alas, he we are at the status quo, with a President running for life and complaining about waste. When he has wasted 32 years and not made effort to change it. It is all talk and no fire. Peace.
Joseph Szlavik and his lobby firm in Washington D.C. are using his close-connected network in the Senate and the House, to trade secrets and interference of knowledge from not so favorable sources. The Scribe Strategies and Advisors are have certainly no scruples in their dealings. As the vast funding from Republic’s and their leadership. Proves that he can bought by anyone who opens their check-book. There is no story he cannot open and abuse, to make sure that his company earns fortunes.
Therefore, be aware that certain connected journalists has been touched by this lobbyist like the Sioban O’Grady, who has had interviews interconnected on several occasions during the last year. As well as Kevin Kelley in Daily Nation, who has been used as tools for the agenda of the Lobbying firm.
Promotes the cause of CNDD-FDD:
This lobbying company has a long history in Burundi, as they have wanted to retain the company as far back on 12 December 2005, when Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation Antoinette Batungbwira wrote a credible praise and wanted to extend their work together.
The government of Burundi, had the funds and the ability to push their agenda in Washington D.C. during the 2015-2016 as their noble lobbyist Joseph Szlavik, signed his earnings to the proper American authorities. On 10th November 2015, the CNDD-FDD paid the lobbyist $ 59,980.00, as he was also paid on the 5th February 2016 $ 60,000.00 and on 25th April 2016 $ 92,230.00. Also, his fees continued as on the 8th August 2016 got $ 90,000.00 and 19th December 2016 the total salary $ 60,000.00.
The lobbyist has during the 2 year period earned astonishing $ 362,000.00!
The CNDD-FDD could afford to pay a man to spread their message and play after their tune in the congress and senate! This shows the power of the monies, as the lobbyist himself explained his position and what he did to earn this amount of money: “Registrant (Scribe Strategies & Advisors) counseled and advised the Government of Burundi on U.S. Policy and informed congressional and executive branch officials and staff and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on development in Burundi, and promoted relations between the United States and Burundi. Registrant provided public relations support and strategies to the Government of Burundi” (13.04.2017 – NSD/FARA Registration Unit).
“Registrant (Scribe Strategies & Advisors) arranged for Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe to speak at the Atlantic Council on June 22, 2015 and on the VOA’s “Straight Talk Africa” on June 23, 2015, and Newsmax TV on June 24, 2015, about recent political developments in Burundi; arranged for presidential spokesman Willy Nyamitwe to speak to the Atlantic Council on January 22, 2016, and on the VOA’s “Straight Talk Africa” on January 20, 2016, and on France24 TV on January 21, 2016, all of the topic of the recent developments in Burundi” (03.03.2016 – NSD/FARA Registration Unit).
Promote the cause of the NRM:
The Government of Uganda and their Foreign Affairs has used the same man to pursuit their agenda in Washington D.C. as they paid the man on the 5th May 2016 $ 62,500.00. In 2015 they also paid him well for the help of spreading the message of Foreign Minster Kuteesa on the 24th June 2015 paid $ 55,200.00, also $ 69,800.00 on 7th August 2015 and on 9th December 2015 $ 64,535.11. The Government of Uganda totally paid the amount $ 250,000.00 to the lobbyist over 2 years!
“Registrant (Scribe Strategies & Advisors) arranged for Foreign Minister Sam Kuteesa to appear on Voice of America program. “Straight Talk Africa” September 16, 2015; the topic was Kutesa’s tenure as President of the United States General Assembly; also arranged for Kutesa to speak at the Atlantic Council on September 15, 2015, on the same topic” (03.03.2016 – NSD/FARA Registration Unit).
That the company uses their reach and their messages as back in day, in 2015, when Scribe Strategies and Advisors, they used Kevin J. Kelley to write a piece in the Daily Nation:
“Mr Szlavik noted that his firm did have a contract about 10 years ago to lobby for Uganda in the US. In accordance with that deal, Mr Szlavik explained, Scribe sought to persuade the Bush administration to list the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Alliance of Democratic Forces as terrorist organisations. The US does designate the LRA and ADF in that way” (…) “Earlier this year, Mr Szlavik added, he discussed with Uganda’s ambassador in Washington the possibility of Scribe again doing lobbying work for Uganda in the United States. But no agreement has been made, Mr Szlavik said. “There’s no contract, no numbers, no payment,” he declared” (Kelley, 2015).
There should be discussion and counsel going on as just a brief month after the interview and article in the Daily Nation, the company earned about $ 60,000 paid by the Ugandan government. So the company knew all about it in 2015, but wanted to spin the news and their role.
The Company was more upfront about their role in spinning the news for Burundi, as the Scribe Lobbying firm in 2015, addressed matters close to the heart of government of Burundi and again, they used their fellow journalist in the Daily Nation:
“The allegations by Joseph Szlavik, head of Scribe Strategies & Advisors, followed reports of fighting between government troops and an unidentified armed group near Burundi’s border with Rwanda” (…) “Mr Szlavik noted in an interview with the Nation that the Burundian leader’s right to run for re-election had been affirmed in May by the country’s Constitutional Court” (…) “Western powers call for respect for the rule of law, and this was the ruling by the Constitutional Court of Burundi,” Mr Szlavik said” (Kelley, 2015).
So Szlavik, the man paid by the Government was clearly knowingly keeping it cool with Burundian authorities, not only spreading their agenda, but also their motives to keep power. Using the tools of legislation and not addressing the grievances of the people demonstrating at the time. Therefore, showing that the ones feeding him was more important than actual justice. That they also, this used the fellow friend in the Daily Nation, show’s how systematic the Scribe Strategies and Advisors work in the East African region.
This is just a quick look into the matter and not really digging deep into the polishing tricks of the company and their employees, as their staff and connections into the House and Senate in the United States was massive. The role to play and their reasoning as the paychecks from CNDD-FDD and NRM comes, they easily comply with the methods and needs from Bujumbura and Kampala. With no care of the implications and ramifications to the innocent in Burundi nor Uganda. Certainly, this is blood-money and I hope they are cursed. Peace.
Kelley, Kevin J. – ‘US lobbying firm denies Uganda is currently a client’ (01.04.2015) link:http://www.africareview.com/news/US-lobbying-firm-denies-Uganda-is-currently-a-client/979180-2672786-3ti6at/index.html
Kelley, Kevin J. – ‘Burundi claims Rwanda aiding rebels’ (13.07.2015)
Let me ride on the Western Hemisphere for it’s care for the LGBT people in Uganda while letting all kind of other oppressive behaviour happen without any cost or any repercussion. I am sorry to all you western government officials that support the LGBT case. They are all people equal under God. Just as you and me. I have nothing against the LGBT cause or that the LGBT men and woman deserves to screw they want to screw. But distinguish that from the matter at hand. I will discuss the real Equal freedom and justice; that means a governing system that is for Besigye or Mwenda; not just for Mwenda and Opondo, but not for Turinawe.
So let me address you clearly as the National Resistance Movement and their ruling regime under President Museveni have become more and more draconian. The rules of law have lesser value as the regime is more inherent corrupted with the arms, tear-gas and anti-riot Police then actual democratic values. So when you have a system where the Militarized Police Force, Militarized Politics and Army Programs into the Civil Society then the guns are controlling all parts of arenas that the society should lead. So that the Western Hemisphere and international community turns a blind eye to that proves the double standard.
That there is an problem with “the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill” – 29th October 2014”. Certainly it must be because the United States can have states like Virgina and such with equally astonishing laws, but not duplicated the heat or massive creations of unlawful bashing. So there are issues with these laws as the LGBT is in this narrative a minority in Uganda. A minority of many, but why complain and make issues with that one minority when the general population is oppressed by a militarized regime? Is that because the NRA of USA is so powerful that a gun-loving president (Former NRA turned NRM) in Africa is cool and flashing AK-47 in Rwenzori is amazing, but him creating bad laws against a minority is overboard.
That a country of 39 million citizens had one Cobalt 60 Teletheraphy Machine at Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) broke down at Mulaga Hospital Kampala two weeks ago or so. While there about 17,000 Cancer sick that need treatment, but there none for them in the country. The international world isn’t doing much. Instead the rich Aga Khan and his Aga Khan Hospital offers 400 patients treatment in Nairobi, Kenya, so there are no opportunity in Uganda. That does not create a stir, which is another minority of people who are sick and in dire need of treatment. That is the same country that has mismanaged international funding to the health care through the Global Funds has been squandered away. The same health care system has X-Ray Machine broken down in Butabika Hospital and other meagre resources and machines at Hospitals that are decaying around the country. So it is okay that President Museveni and the NRM neglect the sick and dying.
The same with up-country Primary Schools where the walls are thin and rain-water flows in and the bricks are shredded. Where the payments of teachers are always late and underfunded as the rate has not gone up for years even with the steady levels of the neglect while the donor-funding and programs towards schools since UPE launch that was ushered in 1996. But the now steady report of dwindling county schools and the standard of facilities seem to be planned. As it is district by district, not a one place issue and more broad issue amongst the country. This is just an issue that matters for the kid’s education and their platform for their future. But the Western media and the Western donors will not put this on blast.
That the Police Force is so involved into politics embedded in the ways that they follows the oppositions, close down their consultations meetings and rallies. The Police Force follows and tag’s the opposition leaders. The Police Force detains opposition members and stop opposition celebrations even when the opposition complies with draconian laws of the state. That is not an issue that creates havoc. This oppressive behaviour from the Police Force towards the Opposition can happen without any clear questions or stop of funding them from abroad.
So the issues are bigger then the “Anti-Gay” bill as the nation is built around the President and his elite. This happens while the rest of people might get detained without questions and without charges. Therefore I feel it is wrong that the international organizations and international media focus alone on this issue. As that is a drop in the sea. The Corruption, the bribes, the embezzlement and the ruin of government institutions should be more in focus and sustain a healthy living for the citizens. The framework of the lawful society is far away. With the current Police State and the current arrest of democracy is more haste to fix.
To reinstate the issue of the bill from 2014 is to deflect the grand issues and the mortality of the current affairs. The ways that people are muffled and silenced in general should be more worrying. The way the army and Police are used as strict tools of oppression and the Parliament writing off more and more money to them instead of being representatives of the citizens. That is where the focus should be. Especially since the donor-funding is 20% of the direct donor budget funding of Government of Uganda. That the NRM will spend on the State House, the farm of the President, new Private Plane and cars, not on the services of government that is expected.
So if the Parliament of Uganda under Rebecca Kadaga puts this up again, then it’s in a way to put all the issues to the side. To give space for the NRM to work with that in silence as the bill will create havoc, but give way for all the activity of the government. So you have been warned of the non-sense and should look at the major issues that make a difference for all of society, not just a minority. Peace.