I haven’t written much because I have been on the road most of the last three weeks. A few weeks a go government of Uganda paid supplements to major newspapers publicising their achievements in the recovery plan for Northern Uganda. I took a trip to the north and east with Isis-WICCE an organisation am currently working with to finish my masters.
These peoples stories tell a different reality. The case is simple not much on the ground yet to cause celebrations and wastage of money to put news ads. That money invested in supplements could have well changed the situation of these people I spoke to and many many others.
But since it is election time here ‘you have to blow the trumpet’ even in situations that are dire. These people’s lives show not much has been done for communities that have faced over a decade of conflict especially those people whose bodies were the battle ground of the war – the women!
Women like this one have suffered the worst crimes during the war but post conflict rehabilitation often does not have their voices or their participation. Many women in N.Uganda are currently being denied land rights many widows have no rights and other older women have remained in camps with no help.
The issues addressing the welfare of ordinary people in the north are still not addressed. Maternal deaths are still high. Uganda loses about 6000 mothers per year due to pregnancy related complications. Recently at the All Africa Anglican Bishops conference in Uganda, the head of UNFPA Janet Jackson put the deaths in a way that I can’t forget. That for very 90 minutes, a time it takes for a football match, a mother dies in Uganda. And for those of us who love football so much it is a comparison that can’t leave our minds. Normalising the situation in northern Uganda will take more than just road constructions.
I heard stories of women getting snake bites as they cross bushes for kilometers in search of a health center. I also met Theatre Assistant in Serere who mans a well equiped theatre donated by AMREF and there’s supposed to be a medical doctor to operate but he does all the operations (minor) and he has to refer lots of patients to another regional hospital about 40 km away. He is on call 24/7 and 300 whatever days in a year. He earns $100 and the time I spoke to him he had not received his salary for two months.
How do you expect this man to survive and offer his skills to people who need them most?