Museveni’s presidential campaign lies about healthcare woes; attacks health workers

“‘How can any patient value a doctor, value a nurse when they say such things about us?” – a medical worker in Uganda.

This is part of a new report done by HEPSUganda a Health Consumers’ Organisation advocating for health rights and responsibilities on the plight of Uganda’s health workers.

President Museveni has for the last one year, and this has intensified with election campaign, put the blame of Uganda’s dysfunctional health system on medical workers. That they steal drugs and that’s why we have no proper access to good health services. Daily Monitor on December 2010 had a story where the president told a rally in Tororo that the health workers steal drugs and that they will “pay with their backs”

A nurse I met at a HCIII in Serere. There are only 2 professionals manning the center that has no electricity. She uses a lamp during deliveries. She uses her own charcoal stove to boil water to sterilize the little equipment. At the time of the visit the center had not hand gloves for months and when I asked her about the risk of getting HIV she said she can't do anything. "you can't walk away from a woman in labour because you have no gloves." And I am supposed to hear my President blame such a woman for no health services?

I say they have already paid with their backs almost 60 percent of the positions in Uganda’s health center IIIs are vacant.

One health rights activist Patricia Mutambi told me that “we have demonised health workers in Uganda that they have almost ceased to be human in our eyes and people don’t even have an understanding of the difficult conditions they work in.”

The whole blaming of health workers will not solve problems. One of the quotes I found online.

“The army used to be indisciplined, but now it is very disciplined. If we can tame the army, who are these medical workers? We are going to tame them. It will not be long before we sort this problem out once and for all,”–President Museveni while on campaign in Bugweri

I think it’s time for President Museveni to tell Ugandans how he will fix the endless problems facing the health system and not mount an almost hate campaign against health workers who are poorly paid.



South Sudanese women expect expanded rights from new state

John Garang, the revered late leader of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, once said that women are the “the poorest of the poor and the marginalised of the marginalised”. As the reality of an independent South Sudan approaches, the region’s women have vowed they will not remain second class citizens.

Margaret Michael Modi, the head of women’s affairs in Central Equatoria State, cast her vote on the first day.

“The first day (of the vote) we did not sleep. I went to the polling station and women were crying as they cast their vote,” she told IPS over the phone from the southern capital, Juba.

“For us the separation will be liberation. For so long, we were subjected to Islamic laws which limited our freedom in most ways, and coupled with the traditional values of the south, [women] remained at the bottom of society.”

South Sudanese women living in Uganda approach a polling station in Kampala on Sunday 9 January. Photo by Jimmy Siya.

Like many others, Modi expects that in an independent South Sudan, women will be in a better position to challenge limits on their freedom rights.

Mary Nawai Martin, a member of south Sudan’s Legislative Assembly from Ibba County, in Western Equatoria State, is optimistic that separation will bring in a new era of respect for women’s rights.

“Women are eager for separation. There’s no woman I have met who didn’t say they voted for the separation. During the rule by the north, women had the least rights, they were the worst victims of the war,” she said.

For more go to IPSAfrica