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UGANDA: Tax payers die in dilapidated hospitals as govt thugs fly their families abroad for treatent

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My parents were exposed to Uganda’s dead health care system

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In Summary

Changes. All these changed when the NRA took power in January 1986. They privatised and commoditised health and education services. Consequently, public health and education services were abandoned by the government.

By Robert Mugabe, DAILY MONITOR

The last three years have been tragic in our family. On March 5, 2015, we lost our father, Ladit Amitayo Okeny Lugwero (RIP), after about two years’ illness. Three years later, on July 15, 2018, we lost our mother, Mego Josephine Apiyo Okeny (RIP), after being sick as well, for a similar period of time. Both of them were septuagenarians.

My father was a policeman who served this country with dedication. He joined the Force in 1960 and retired prematurely in 1970, a few months before Gen Idi Amin ousted Dr Milton Obote’s government. He took leave from public life throughout the Amin period. However, when Amin was toppled in 1979, he played an active role in politics. He was a functionary in Uganda House, the headquarters of UPC.

He was a very healthy person. I never saw him fall sick or go to hospital because he felt unwell. He only did so when his children or relatives were sick. This, obviously was not because he was a super human being or anything like that. It was because he lived in a healthy environment, ate healthy foods and adhered to primary health care which promoted prevention rather than cure of diseases.

My mother on the other hand, was a dedicated housewife, whose main preoccupation was raising children and home making. Generally speaking, she was a healthy person who occasionally fell sick but had a healthy and competent health care system to turn to whenever there was need. Government of the day prioritised the health of citizens and thus ensured that hospitals were built and equipped with necessary machinery, medicines and personnel.

That is why in 1969, when Obote, then president, was nearly assassinated from Lugogo Indoor Stadium, he was rushed to Mulago National Referral Hospital and treated from there until he recuperated. Remember, he was the head of State. His children too, were born and treated in Ugandan hospitals, whenever they fell sick. So were Amin’s children and all their government workers’ families.

Even in the education sector, children of the previous presidents and their ministers, MPs etc. went to the same local schools with children of policemen (like my late father), nurses, carpenters, masons, farmers, etc. A child of a peasant farmer could be admitted in an elite school like Kings’ College Budo, provided they had the required grades. Rural public schools competed very favourably with urban public schools.

All these, however, changed when the NRA junta took power in January 1986. They privatised and commoditised health and education services. Consequently, public health and education services were abandoned by the government. Private hospitals and schools were encouraged. So, a semblance of quality health and education services could only be accessed in private facilities by the rich and powerful.

Certainly, for the ruling class, even private facilities are a no go area. That is why, the President’s daughter flies to Germany to give birth. Indeed, that is the reason why, all elected and appointed government workers and their families fly abroad whenever they feel sickly. But, we ordinary souls, who pay taxes that fund their ostentatious lifestyle, go to dilapidated, ill equipped and under-staffed hospitals.

That is the experience my parents were exposed to. Whenever we took them to hospital, there was either no equipment, medicine or personnel. With a dead health care system, they certainly had to succumb. But Daddy and Mummy, before your passing, you bequeathed me to the struggle for a better Uganda. I will surely honour your memory by relentlessly working for a better country than the one you lived in. Till we meet again!

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: August 05, 2018 at 12:03PM

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